We won't need to raise taxation if we respect the law and be prudent

A clock with tax label. [Getty Images]

Equitable distribution of employment and development opportunities, and national resources are anchored in our Constitution.

This is to ensure no one is left behind irrespective of party affiliation, status, sex, political opinions, ethnicity and other diversities.

This means employment, sustainable development opportunities and public resources/budgets at all levels should be shared equally and equitably based on the Constitution.

Yet, there are regions without infrastructure such as roads, communication, properly equipped schools and colleges, where pupils/students cannot compete nationally because they lack learning resources and materials although they all sit the same national exams.

There are regions without equipped hospitals or without specialised medical officers and experts, and although ICT is becoming a necessity there are places without electricity, computers other critical infrastructure for ensuring access to these services. There are regions without clean and adequate portable water and where people still have to travel long distances to access government services despite devolution.

Other regions are neglected since they didn’t vote right. The economic, social, political, cultural and environmental human rights, inherent and safeguarded in the Constitution are necessary in a democratic society. This is because they guarantee good governance, and accountability and give legitimacy and credibility to leadership, decision-making, and the management of public affairs at national and county government levels. All people in Kenya, the Executive, Parliament (both Houses), and the Judiciary must abide by the Constitution and laws of Kenya and no one is above the law.

In a democratic society, where law and order are maintained, compliance with the Constitution and laws can appear tedious, bureaucratic, slow and even frustrating. Yet, compliance and adherence bestow legitimacy and credibility without which dictatorship and anarchy replace democracy and good governance making the sitting government unconstitutional and illegitimate.

The Constitution and laws provide remedies through courts in case of violation of these rights and hence the Judiciary is responsible for safeguarding, securing, and protecting these rights by ensuring aggrieved persons whose rights have been violated are given necessary remedies.

Court orders must be complied with and failure is contempt of court, which is punished by hefty fines or imprisonment. Failure to comply with contempt of court orders will result in constitutional crisis because the rule of law and the separation of powers are undermined. The current spat between the President and members of his government including elected ones on the accusing side and the Judiciary, opposition, civil society and other groups on the defending side, will not end well.

The vast majority are struggling because of the high costs of living and incredibly high taxation, which appears to increase with every passing day. There are all sorts of taxes being proposed and pushed down on Kenyans. These include farming produce, fruits, vegetables and spices and livestock taxes including on cows, chickens, goats and other domestic animals.  Beauty products and other sorts of taxes have been introduced through the Finance Act, 2023 that was declared unconstitutional by the High Court although it is still being implemented not only through the Housing Tax but all other taxes being collected sanction by the unconstitutional Finance Act beyond the controversial housing levy, fuel VAT, Social Health Insurance Fund, and others pending in court.

Many people believe there must be another people-friendly way in which the government can raise revenue. Article 201 of the Constitution provides the principles of public finance as openness, accountability, and public participation in public finance.

The Constitution further provides that the burdens and benefits of public resources and public borrowing are shared equitably between present and future generations, public money shall be used prudently and responsibly, and requires responsible financial management and clear and accountable fiscal reporting.

If the government and Parliament ensured fiscal discipline and prudent use of public funds and created a facilitative and conducive environment for generation of wealth and ended corruption, it would generate a lot of money without ever raiding workers’ meagre pay slips and taxing farmers who ensure food and nutrition security.

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