Ruto should stop acting as a legislator, Omtatah says on challenging the Finance Bill

Busia Senator Okiya Omtatah. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Busia Senator Okiya Omtatah has told President William Ruto to stop acting as a legislator and allow the National Assembly to exercise its rights freely.

Speaking in an interview with Spice FM on Wednesday, June 7, Omtatah said that President William Ruto is using threats as a conduit to pass the bill when his role as the Executive is to propose and not to pass laws.

“The Executive is supposed to propose taxes and the National Assembly determines if it will be passed or not. In this case, the Executive is trying to tax by force, it is not a proposal. When he says dare you not vote in the bill, the president is looking for a rubber stamp which is the National Assembly,” said Omatatah.

“You have seen the president write letters to the Speaker stating that in the next year, I want to see this and that debated. He is trying to run this country as if he is the law. Additionally, when it comes to taxes, the Executive is only allowed to tax but not force people to save. This forced saving is against the law,” the Senator, who has now filed a petition against the bill said.

According to Omtatah, Kenya Kwanza allied MPs are afraid of what might happen if they question or fail to support the Bill.

To secure their places in Parliament, they would rather vote in the bill than face the wrath of their leader, says Omtatah. 

He added that the Senate has been locked out of the discussion which directly affects them thus making the whole process of approving the bill unconstitutional.

“The Finance Bill does not go to the Senate, so how does one house amend bills that were made by both houses and make laws that affect devolution? Housing issue for example is devolved and they have locked out the Senate, how does it work?” he posed.

Last week, Omtatah and four other activists filed a petition in court to challenge some sections of the proposed Finance Bill, 2023.

Justice Hedwig Ong’undi of the High Court certified the matter as urgent saying that the issue should be given priority as it raises urgent concerns.

The judge however did not bar the National Assembly from discussing and transmitting the impugned Bill to the president.

Omtatah is now hopeful that if the Bill will not be stopped then the court will quash the act.

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