- Azimio plans to convene at Kamukunji again on July 7 (saba saba) to unveil a programme of civil disobedience in order to incite Kenyans against the govt.
Absurdity is doing the same thing the same way and expecting different results.
Azimio rally at Kamukunji grounds on Tuesday, June 27, was full of epithets against the government. Convened after the National Assembly had passed the Finance Bill, 2023 and the President having since assented it into law, the rally was billed as an opportunity to build momentum to resist the government efforts at rallying Kenyans to put up resistance.
Something quite curious happened within the ranks and file of Azimio. Raila and Kalonzo were out of the country, with the former attending a workshop organised in Poland of former political leaders from around the world. Curiously, Raila was slotted on a panel on how to ‘protect the vote’ something he has failed to ensure a record five times!
In their absence, Martha Karua was the leader of Azimio, and she indeed declared that they had the majority in the National Assembly. This then meant that they would use their numbers to ‘defend’ Wanjiku on the floor of the house. However, the converse is true.
The Finance committee of the National Assembly led by Kimani Kuria of Molo sat for a record 39 days, 12 hours each, translating to 468 hours in total. They received 1,150 written submissions 223 of which were also done orally as well. In the end, 12 Acts of Parliament were amended vide 101 clauses.
The main plenary then debated the bill for over 32 hours. This new law will hopefully help raise an extra 311 billion shillings, thus plugging the huge borrowing gap for this new financial year’s budget. If successful, the new revenue raising measures shall procure a 15 per cent increase in ordinary shareable revenue to a high of 2.4 trillion, within a budget projection of about 3.6 trillion.
Such an increase will help stem the tide of borrowing by govt both domestically and externally, something that President Ruto is very keen on moving us away from.
In fact, the President was very clear in his presentation in France about the rigged international financial system that the Brettonwoods institutions (IMF & World Bank), end up charging an interest rate of up to eight per cent to African countries while the so called developed countries pay only one per cent. Raising our own money is the only way that we as a country can foot our own bill.
Azimio under the leadership of Martha Karua failed to measure up to standing up against the revenues raising measures. The numbers that they boasted about didn’t count for their worth on the floor of the house. At their best, they rose up to only 84, while at some point, they went to a low of 72.
The Kenya Kwanza troops on the other hand went to a high of 184 and a low of 176. Clearly, the latter were more organized and well mobilized to defend the govt’s agenda. Interestingly, Azimio had claimed that they would present their own version of the finance bill. They didn’t. Their amendments on the floor of the house were basically aimed at dismembering the bill, rather than providing alternatives.
Nineteen lawmakers had showcause letters written to them by Senator Jones Mwaruma, the vice chair of ODM. This includes one to John Mbandi, the chairman of ODM who decided not to show up during voting, together with Babu Owino.
The Kamukunji rally was thus an anticlimax for Azimio as they failed to measure up to the expectations of their followers. In fact, as one media house aptly put it, they are only using the cost of living as an excuse to build their political clout in order to negotiate for their own bread and butter, in terms of an anticipated political settlement.
Looking at the nefarious resolutions that they raised at Kamukunji, one is left to wonder if really Azimio is serious in its pursuits.
To begin with, they resolved to boycott the bipartisan talks on the basis of the punitive taxation measures. This in my view is hypocritical since they never presented concrete alternatives to the govt proposals.
The original bill was amended and proposals from the public incorporated such as the reduction of the housing levy from three to 1.5 per cent, withholding tax from content creators from 15-5%, removal of tax on human hair, false beards etc.
The other resolution is to incite Kenyans to civil disobedience. This has been done before and even maandamano have fizzled out, only happening in Kibra and Kisumu. They also resolved to withdraw sovereignty from leaders who supported the bill. This is nothing more than a call to insurrection.
It’s a call to engineer a coup against the govt and thus cannot be taken idly. Azimio also wants to tap into civil society’s funding by joining them, in addition to supporting a biased media that gave it 67 per cent of all media coverage during the last general elections! This is after the KK administration came out strongly to call out such open bias.
Azimio plans to convene at Kamukunji again on July 7 (saba saba) to unveil a programme of civil disobedience in order to incite Kenyans against the govt. Trying to replay the second liberation rhetoric of the 90s doesn’t resonate with the current times. Absurdity is doing the same thing the same way and expecting different results.
Azimio has run out of ideas!
CAS, Office of the Prime Cabinet Secretary