Azimio tells MPs to attend Parliament, shoot down Finance Bill

ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna speaks during a church service at Saint Paul's ACK Church Waruku in Kangemi, Nairobi, on June 18, 2023. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Opposition leader Raila Odinga's Azimio has said all Members of Parliament will be expected to be in the House on Tuesday to vote against the Finance Bill 2023 and absenteeism and voting for the Bill will be considered rebellion.

Azimio has opposed President William Ruto's Finance Bill that recommends a number of measures including the 1.5 per cent housing levy and increase of Value Added Tax (VAT) on petroleum products from 8 per cent to 16 per cent.

ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna on Sunday said that MPs who failed to turn up to vote against the Bill and those who supported it last week will face disciplinary action.

Sifuna said Kenyans are suffering while the leadership of the country was living in opulence with increased budgetary allocation to the offices of the President and other senior government officials even as they claim that the country is broke.

“All Kenyans believe that what the government is doing is not right, we have increased foreign travel for the President, we have seen senior officials in government getting new fleets of vehicles, we even have senior officials acquiring houses worth millions yet we are told the government does not have money,” he said.

Speaking during a fundraiser at Saint Paul's ACK Church Waruku in Westlands constituency in Nairobi on Sunday, the senator regretted that nine months after assuming office, President Ruto has made life difficult for mwananchi by coming up with measures to impoverish them.

Sifuna said that the position taken by his party resonates well with what ordinary Kenyans feel and that the government should stop lying that the measures taken are for the good of the country since they are already suffering and should not be made to suffer even further.

The senator called on MPs irrespective of their party affiliations to vote against the Bill if at all they have the best interests of Kenyans and that they should not allow to be intimidated by the Kenya Kwanza Alliance whose interests are for the few super-rich.

“The Finance Bill 2023 has to be defeated at all costs, that is why we are lobbying all our Members of Parliament to turn up on Tuesday and shoot down this draconian legislation that is out to make a life for Kenyans even more difficult, we are calling on our colleagues in Kenya Kwanza Alliance to stand on the right side of history by rejecting this bill,” said Sifuna.

Kiambu Woman Represenative Anne Muratha who was present during the church service told off Sifuna saying that citizens will appreciate what President Ruto is doing in the next two years since he was setting a foundation for a greater Kenya after the public coffers were plundered by the outgoing regime.

Muratha noted that the country was reeling in debts and the President has to take austerity measures to ensure to reduce dependence on foreign debts and asked Kenyans to be patient.

The MP said the government was not out to impoverish mwananchi but will mainly collect taxes from those who make more money through employment and lucrative businesses.

“Our President inherited empty coffers with huge debts hanging around our necks, he has come up with measures that are aimed at ensuring that our country is out of the mess it is in, let us all support him and in two years time we will be having good results,” said Muratha.