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Azimio urges MPs to unanimously reject Finance Bill

 Azimio leader Raila Odinga. He called upon his supporters to keep a record of MPs who will vote in favour of the Bill. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Azimio has maintained that its MPs will unanimously reject the Finance Bill 2023.

Speaking at Parliament Buildings in Nairobi, on Tuesday, National Assembly Minority Whip Junet Mohamed said Azimio will whip its members to ensure a unanimous vote on the Bill.

"I don't think there is any sane member who can go against the position of the opposition. If there is a Bill that the coalition has not taken a position on it then you can decide how to go about it," said Junet.

"I'm not aware of any member from our side who is saying they are going to support the Bill. If there is any, then they know the consequences. We have many ways of dealing with such kinds of decisions," he added.

The MP argued that the law provides for parties to whip their respective MPs on critical Bills tabled in Parliament.

This comes even as Nairobi Woman Representative, Esther Passaris expressed support for the housing levy arguing that it will help deal with the slum problem in Nairobi.

Passaris, who is a member of the National Assembly Housing, Urban Planning and Public Works Committee, on Tuesday, said she does not support the Bill in its entirety but recognises the significant benefits that would arise from fixing the housing problem in the country.

"We need to eliminate slums...We need houses. It's another way to spur the economy. We need to have decent houses because it's part of the SDGs and I am part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) caucus," she said.

The Women Rep noted that the congested informal settlements are fertile ground for crime, accidents, defilement and teen pregnancies.

She hopes that the government has considered the input of the people and will make necessary changes to the Bill before it is passed into law.

However, Passaris warned that nothing will come from the multi-billion-shilling housing project if the Kenya Kwanza administration does not stem corruption.

"If the government is not going to deal with corruption, we are going to have a massive problem. No matter how much we collect, they are not going to deliver the services," she said.

On Monday, the National Assembly Majority Whip, Silvanus Osoro assured that the government and Kenya Kwanza MPs have been hearing the dissenting views from the public and are open for amendment once the Bill is tabled in Parliament.

"It is at the committee of the whole House that members will have an opportunity to make amendments," said Osoro.

This comes a day after Azimio leader Raila Odinga announced that they will make a major statement relating to the contentious Finance Bill, 2023. The Bill is expected to be tabled in Parliament on Wednesday but will be debated on Thursday.

Raila warned that if the demands of the opposition are not met, the government should be prepared for a return of protests. He urged Azimio MPs to reject the Bill, emphasizing the importance of taking a stand.

Raila further called upon his supporters to keep a record of MPs who will vote in favour of the Bill.

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