Seven file case to block more Ruto taxes

President William Ruto. [File, Standard]

Kenya Kwanza’s bid to raise taxes might not be a walk in the park after a new case seeking to block any new push to collect more taxes landed in court.

In the case filed by Mt Kenya lawyers lobby- Mount Kenya Jurists Association alongside seven other petitioners, the government led by President William Ruto is accused of being inconsiderate to the suffering and pain currently being felt in the country.

 The jurists’ lawyer Kibe Mungai argued that although the government is entitled to collect taxes, the law bars it from impoverishing its citizens by imposing punitive levies and taxes.

 He claimed that the government is employing predatory tactics instead of finding wealth for redistribution and sharing among all for equality.

“The petitioner's case is that whilst citizens have a constitutional obligation to pay taxes from their income, the same Constitution prohibits the Government from depriving the citizens of their entire income in the names of taxes, levies, charges and other contributions that a government with an imperial Robin Hood Mindset is inclined to invent and apply,” argued Mungai.

Others who have sued are Fanya Mambo Kinuthia, Kenneth Njagi, Peter Koria, Charles Mabiru, Ishmael Muriithi, Jackline Wanjiru and Lempaa Suiyanka.

Further, they want the court to bar joint national dialogue committee until the government addresses the runaway cost of living and reviews the punitive taxes.

 Kibe painted a picture of a government that is hell bent to ensure its controversial policies are implemented by hook or nook.

 He stated that already the government is on a frolic to come up with new law to ensure it is collecting housing levy despite the same being declared unconstitutional by the High Court.

“Whilst the Kenya Kwanza Government was elected based on promises made by its leaders during the campaign to stop abuse of the government's powers to tax and impose levies on one hand and to lower the cost of living and create jobs on the other hand, the reality after about 16 months in office is that it has adopted an imperial and condescending mindset in which the income of citizens and corporate entities are viewed as Government property or as long as the rubber-stamp National Assembly of Kenya passes some laws or regulations to justify expropriation of such private property,” said Kibe.

This comes as Attorney General Justin Muturi wrote to the Court of Appeal President Justice Daniel Musinga, seeking an early hearing date for the applications touching on the Finance Act, 2023.

In his letter, the AG said that the 45-day window given by Justices David Majanja, Christine Meoli, and Lawrence Mugambi for the State to appeal their Judgment on housing levy contribution will lapse on January 10, 2024.

Muturi said that if the date lapses, the country will be drawn into confusion.

“It is the applicant’s humble view that unless a date is granted for the hearing of the application for stay and consequential orders, as they may be issued by the court a grave injustice is likely to occur,” said Muturi.

In the meantime, Justice Mwanaisha Shariff ordered the AG, the Lands, Public Works and Housing Development Cabinet Secretary Alice Wahome and the National Assembly not to conduct public participation on proposed amendments in a case filed by one Lawrence Opiyo.

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