Azimio Issues Demands After Rejecting Ruto Finance Bill

Raila Odinga speaking while accompanied by Kalonzo Musyoka and Martha Karua and other Azimio leaders on Wednesday May 24, 2023
Raila Odinga addresses the media accompanied by Azimio co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka and Martha Karua on Wednesday, May 24, 2023.
Raila Odinga

The Azimio Parliamentary Group, on Tuesday, May 30, resolved to reject the Finance Bill 2023 in totality.

In a statement sent to the newsroom after a meeting in Nairobi, the Raila Odinga-led faction demanded that the Kenya Kwanza government withdraws the bill for review.

Azimio explained that the Finance Bill, which proposed a raft of tax measures, does not resonate with Kenyans.

"We oppose the burden being imposed on working people through reckless measures like house levy, income tax and taxes on per diem. We oppose increased taxes on start-ups and small businesses. We oppose increasing taxes on fuel which will raise the cost of the product by at least Ksh10. 

Bipartisan Committee Talks
Azimio la Umoja and Kenya Kwanza members of the Bipartisan Committee pose for a photo after talks on Wednesday, May 10, 2023.
Senator Esther Okenyuri

"Azimio is of the view that this Finance Bill takes us back to the 1980s. It takes us back to the era of cost-sharing in public institutions. It takes us back to the era of Structural Adjustment Programs. It takes us back to the 1980s because the people who were in charge back then, are in charge today," read the statement in part.

The Azimio PG noted that the Kenya Kwanza government wanted to take billions from the poorest people in Kenya while expecting the opposition to cheer.

“We take the position that the budget proposals offer completely no support for working people and upcoming businesses, for the taxes being levied, people are getting nothing in return,” Azimio confirmed. 

The opposition legislators expressed concern over the misuse of funds and the misuse of public resources by President William Ruto's administration.

On the other hand, the PG further confirmed that they had settled on Embakasi West MP Mark Mwenje as Deputy Minority Whip of the National Assembly, replacing Nominated MP Sabina Chege

“We recognize Mwenje as a committed, consistent, energetic and youthful fighter who has shown the will to stand up for the people and the party. We have no doubt that he will prove equal to the task,” the leaders explained. 

Bipartisan Talks 

On the bipartisan talks, the Azimio leaders maintained that the talks remained suspended until the Kenya Kwanza team complied with their new demands.

One of the Azimio demands was that Kenya Kwanza must agree that all Jubilee MPs who defected, face by-elections in line with the constitution. 

This was in line with Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna who announced the suspension of the talks on May 23.

In the statement, the Senator noted that the suspension came after the Azimio team failed to persuade its Kenya Kwanza counterparts to agree on the terms of engagement. 

Bipartisan Committee
The Kenya Kwanza, Azimio Coalition bipartisan talks team met for the first time on Thursday, April 20 2023 at Villa Rosa Kempinsky Hotel in Nairobi.
Senator Esther Okenyuri
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