HomePoliticsRaila Warns of Street Protests Amid the Looming Finance Bill Showdown

Raila Warns of Street Protests Amid the Looming Finance Bill Showdown

In the days leading up to the tabling of the proposed Finance Bill, 2023 for its second reading in Parliament, tensions are running high as opposing factions gear up for a showdown. The Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition, comprised of opposition leaders, has issued a warning, declaring that if the Finance Bill passes, street protests will be reignited.

Raila Odinga, the leader of Azimio, addressed a crowd in Bungoma County and vehemently criticized the provisions of the Bill.

He argued that it would further burden already overstretched taxpayers. Raila vowed to use every means at his disposal to ensure that the Bill is defeated, emphasizing the collective opposition against it.

“Prices of essential commodities such as flour, fuel, petrol, sugar, electricity, and school fees have skyrocketed. The donkey is tired; isn’t it obvious?” Raila asked the crowd, painting a picture of the burdens faced by ordinary citizens.

Continuing his criticism, Raila accused President William Ruto of presiding over a government that perpetuates ethnic divisions.

He claimed that promises made to other ethnic communities during the election campaign were not fulfilled, leading to unemployment for certain groups while favoring others. Raila stressed that Kenya should not be governed by the interests of just one or two tribes.

Martha Karua, the leader of the Narc-Kenya party, echoed Raila’s sentiments, calling for the suspension of the oppressive Finance Bill.

Karua highlighted the unfairness of the proposed legislation, which exempts individuals who own helicopters and planes from paying taxes on their aircraft and spare parts.

In contrast, ordinary citizens, such as tea sellers, motorbike taxi drivers, and those earning a meager income of 1,400 shillings per day, are burdened with tax obligations. Karua argued that taxation should be transparent and equitable for all.

Kalonzo Musyoka, the leader of the Wiper Party, aligned himself with the opposition’s stance and threatened a resurgence of street protests if the government persisted in passing the Bill.

He criticized the government’s insistence on imposing unaffordable tax rates on Kenyans, particularly in light of the widespread poverty exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kalonzo emphasized that the international community’s response to the pandemic has taken into account the ability of citizens to cope, whereas tear gas is still being used on protestors in Kenya.

Speaking at a burial in Makueni County, Kalonzo took the opportunity to invite former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko to join the opposition coalition.

Kalonzo revealed that Sonko expressed his willingness to participate in the protests, emphasizing his concern for the welfare of the people.

In response, Sonko, who humorously referred to himself as a “deep state” operative within the government, expressed support for peaceful demonstrations while hinting at his complicated relationship with the ruling administration.

As tensions escalate and political rhetoric intensifies, it remains to be seen how the battle over the Finance Bill, 2023 will unfold.

Both sides are determined to defend their positions, with the opposition warning of street protests and the government pushing forward with its plans. The outcome of this showdown will have significant implications for the country’s economy and political landscape.

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