Stop lamenting and amend Finance Bill 2024, Azimio tells Kenya Kwanza

Finance Bill 2024 has some pinches of sweeteners. [iStockphoto]

A section of Azimio lawmakers have gone against the coalition's position and declared support for the Financial Bill 2024.

Those supporting the Bill have challenged their colleagues opposed to it to push for amendments instead of threatening to shoot down the proposals on the floor of the House as that will be a tall order.

Speaking in Luanda, Vihiga county, during a funds drive in aid of Esiandumba ACK Church, a section of ODM legislators led by Khwisero MP Christopher Aseka urged those opposed to the Bill to stop misleading the people.

“We have a Finance Bill before us and let MPs stop misleading Kenyans at funerals or public events, let us present our views in Parliament,” said Aseka.

“They have said they are taxing bread let us find ways of ensuring it doesn’t happen but according to me there are some taxes and levies that are in order and I am comfortable with them. I support taxing the rich people who have or own high-end and big vehicles to pay more money and I support taxing the rich like lawmakers who have big salaries so that the poor can get free medical treatment,” he added.

“We cushion the poor but saying we can shoot down the Finance Bill is a big lie,” said the MP.

Ikolomani MP Bernard Shinali urged his colleagues to stop lamenting at funerals and churches and instead use Parliament to amend, or reject the Bill.

“Let us not lament before the people because the Finance Bill is debated in Parliament not in public forums let us do it in Parliament and we should be truthful to our people,” said Shinali.

But Likuyani MP Innocent Mugabe, one of the MPs opposed to the Bill, urged legislators to reject proposals that overburden the people.

"We were elected to represent and defend our people, we must interrogate carefully the Bills that come before the House. I urge MPs when they go back to Parliament to scrutinise the Bill and as opposition, we will reject any Bill that is going to make the lives of our people difficult and expensive the way we did to the Finance Bill 2023 that made the life of our people expensive," said Mugabe.

He advocated for more resources to counties saying perceived opposition regions will be disadvantaged in terms of development in case the funds are reduced.

Suna West MP Peter Masara urged Azimio MPs to shoot down the Finance Bill 2024.  "I want my colleagues to interrogate the Bill and make amendments to sections that will hurt Kenyans if the Bill has to be passed but any oppressive Bill should be rejected," said Masara.

Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi opposed the Bill urging lawmakers to reject it. "Our MPs should defend Kenyans by opposing any oppressive laws that threaten to make the life of our people difficult, they should also support devolution by giving more money to counties," said Osotsi.

Kenya Kwanza MPs accused their Azimio counterparts of lamenting in public when they have a platform to amend the Bill.

Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa accused opposition legislators of skipping parliamentary sittings whenever important matters touching on the lives of the people are brought to the floor of the House.

"When we are dealing with important matters like budget making our colleagues from the opposition skip the sittings only to start lamenting in public," said Barasa.

"We need taxes to run our country and I am advocating for more taxes, especially on expensive items but the money should be used prudently to help Kenyans including the poor and elderly, pay our teachers and send more money to counties for development," he added.

Sirisia MP John Walukhe said Kenyans should pay taxes to realise development. "The Finance Bill 2024 does not oppress the poor but it is one way of raising more revenue so that our people can get free medication, counties to get increased allocation, so opposition MPs should stop lying to Kenyans," said Walukhe.

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula asked legislators to stop lamenting and bothering Kenyans with what he termed as baby cries yet they have the mandate to pass motions or reject.

"You (MPs) are capable of revoking any Bill you feel is punitive. If you see the budget and distribution of resources is wrong, you know what to do in Parliament,” he said.

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