Gen-Z were only after TikTok views, MP says on protests

Kitui South MP Rachel Nyamai. [File, Standard]

Kitui South MP Rachel Nyamai now claims some protesters demonstrating against punitive taxes contained in the proposed Finance Bill 2024 were only interested in gaining TikTok views.

Nyamai made the remarks on Wednesday, June 19, in Parliament where legislators were debating the bill at the second reading stage.

“Yesterday I watched a girl I have been paying fees for and she was in the streets and she had written a message to me the previous day. And I asked her, ‘you told me that it was about taxation on motor vehicles and bread, why are you in the streets?’ The girl told me that she was not in the streets concerning the Bill, that she was doing TikTok. She told me that she was there because she wanted to get views for TikTok,” said Nyamai. 

The MP, who expressed support for the Bill, said the committee’s proposal to amend some clauses made it highly acceptable.

“The proposals that have been given by this committee to amend are making this Bill very good and highly acceptable, especially after dealing with the matter of bread and also dealing with the matter of taxation on motor vehicles and others,” she added.

Nyamai’s remarks came a day after Generation Z took to the streets demanding the Finance Bill be withdrawn entirely.

Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, on his part, rejected the bill and questioned the number of times taxation processes in the country would be amended.

“We are discussing economic growth, you want to tell me this kind of bill will enhance economic growth in this country? Is that what we are telling Kenyans?” Junet posed.

Kathiani MP Robert Mbui said he was rejecting the bill entirely and called on Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome to stop interfering with Kenyans’ right to protest.

“I want to ask the Inspector General to stop interfering with Kenyans when they are exercising their democratic right of protesting. Because Kenyans have a right to defend themselves. And this revolution which is unstoppable,” he said.

South Mugirango MP Silvanus Osoro supported the bill, saying there was a need to expand the tax base to support the additional budget.

“That raises some questions in this House, what do we do? Do we continue borrowing, do we raise our borrowing ceiling and start looking for money from external sources? No, we need to expand our tax base but not at the expense of Kenyans. It's actually a double benefit, we expand our tax base while focusing on manufacturing and local production of our things,” said Osoro.

Currently, the National Assembly is debating the bill at the second reading stage.

During this stage, MPs debate how the enactment of the law will affect the citizens.

After the debate, the proposer of the bill, Molo MP Kuria Kimani, will respond to any issues raised in the house.

Later, the MPs will vote. If more MPs are in favour of the vote, it will move to the next stage, which is the Committee of the Whole House.