President William Ruto got it wrong by supporting the Salaries and Salaries Remuneration Commission's proposal to increase the salaries of civil servants on the very day that the new taxation regimea took effect.
That amounted to slapping poor Kenyans in the face at a time the government has been persuading them to tighten their belts. Kenyans are outraged, and justifiably so, for being asked to tighten their belts for at least two years so that the economy can stabilise but the government ends up cushioning its employees from the effects of inflation.
The president and his handlers should visit social media sites to see how angry frustrated Kenyans are. The timing of the salary increment is the worst ever as majority of the people are struggling to survive.
It hurts the ordinary man who has to toil more to make ends meet, thanks to the high taxation imposed by the government.
It is laughable that the president, with one side his mouth, pleads with poor Kenyans to tighten their belts and pay higher taxes to help him strabilise the economy but considers it prudent to cushion government employees from the same tough economic times the poor are going through.
The president and his troops have made Kenyans to conclude that the statements they made during the 2022 campaigns were geared at brainwashing them as they now seem to be on their own.
While the president is right to say that all workers need to be cushioned from the hard economic times, he forgets about the villagers who have to pay more to put food on the table. One wonders what kind of economics the president employed when he signed into law stringent taxation measures which will make the lives of the majority poor unbearable.
The president sympathises with the working class and agrees with the SRC that they need a salary increment but forgets that the toiling mama mboga, whose budget has been affected badly by the new taxation meaures, needs to be cushioned through subsidies. It's like strangling the already downtrodden Kenyan, to impress the privileged in society.
The poor mama mboga and boda boda riders have to pay higher taxes and forego some necessities for the government to cushion its employees. It's a contradiction of sorts and reminds me of former British High Commissioner Edward Clay who once talked about State officers vomiting on the feet of taxpayers and international development partners.
If truly the economy is straining, it would have been prudent to suspend salary increments, launching of new mega projects and to reduce wastage in government.
Kenyans are justified to feel abandoned by the Ruto administration which promised to make life better by reducing numerous taxes imposed by the Uhuru administration.
The right thing for the government to do now is to freeze the salary increment and and review the same after two years if the economy will have improved.
Mr Omanga is a media practitioner. [email protected]
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