Inside Politics

Azimio threatens to resume demos over Nadco laws

Thursday, May 16th, 2024 05:00 | By
Wiper Democratic Movement leader Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka flanked by Azimio La Umoja coalition legislators address a press conference after holding their Parliamentary Group meeting to discuss National Dialogue Committee report bills and 2024 Finance Bill. PHOTO/Samuel Kariuki

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Alliance have issued fresh threats to call demonstrations if the government alters the contents of the National Dialogue Committee as well as overburdens Kenyans with new taxes.

The coalition warned that it was closely monitoring the government over her schemes to introduce a new taxation regime as well as doctoring the Nadco report.

Arising from the report a total of nine bills were generated and it is only the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) (Amendment) Bill which proposes to amend the electoral agency  Act to increase the number of commissioners to nine from seven that has taken off as the have rest stalled at the committee level.

The other legislations include the Political Parties (Amendment) Bill that proposes the creation of the Political Parties Regulatory Commission, the Statutory Instruments (Amendments) Bill, 2023, the Leader of Opposition Bill, 202, the National Government Coordination (Amendment) Bill, 2023, the Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2023, the Elections Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2023 and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2023.

Six-month ultimatum

The coalition gave a two month and a six month ultimatums for bills and constitutional amendments to be actualized respectively.

“There must be clear timelines for the implementation of the National Dialogue Committee report bills within two calendar months and constitutional amendments six months,” Azimio co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka said.

Speaking during a Parliamentary Group meeting yesterday, Musyoka warned that the opposition will have no option but to call for protests if the report is not passed as it is.

“We are actually riding on the lives of our supporters some of whom were killed during the protests last year. We cannot afford to let them down. There comes a time when if the political class is letting down the population, Kenyans have the freedom to go back to the streets,” Musyoka said.

The Wiper party leader insisted that the product that the Nadco team brought to Parliament was arrived at after intense canvassing   and urged the opposition legislators not to allow a situation where there is a crawl back on the gains made out of the report. He cited the IEBC bill which has denied the President the powers to appoint the commissioners without the input of the opposition leader

“For the next IEBC team, we made it clear that it will be a product of consultation between President William Ruto and Azimio leader Raila Odinga. There must be a principle of concurrence and nobody should try to interfere with that provision so that we don’t wake up and find that Ruto uses his powers will choose a team favourable to Kenya Kwanza,” he emphasized.

Growing aggression

Musyoka criticized the Kenya Kwanza government over what he termed as growing aggression toward multiparty democracy especially on the Jubilee party which is a key constituent of the opposition coalition.

“If we are going to face future elections with a measure of confidence and safeguard multiparty democracy,” he said adding that it was the resolution of the Nadco team that the office of the Registrar of Political Parties be transformed into a commission.

As the next financial cycle nears, Azimio accused the government of plotting to introduce another raft of tax measures which are going to worsen the cost of living among ordinary Kenyans.

While issuing further warnings that it will call for protests, the Raila Odinga-led coalition urged the legislators to oppose the 2024 Finance bill once tabled in the Parliament.

“Our first clarion call last year was on lowering the cost of living, and we need to tell Kenya Kwanza that revolutions begin sometimes in the streets and sometimes in the quiet places. The Zakayo Shuka calls are getting loud and are becoming a Kenyan National Anthem. Yet he keeps on asking, what is it in a name and there is everything in a name. 

“You must be prepared to vote a big no. We know this 2024 Finance bill is receiving public participation and it happened the same way with the 2023 bill where 98 per cent of Kenyans said no but they went on to implement the unfortunate taxes. We are ready to go the streets if that is what it takes,” Musyoka said.

He told them to remain vigilant and thoroughly scrutinize all the bills that come to the committees to ensure that there will be no crawl back on the negotiated gains. On his part Azimio Economic Council chairman Ndiritu Muriithi explained the impact that the 2024 Finance Bill will have on Kenyans, should the opposition fail to prevent its passing.

“The overall impact of what you are being asked to do is to increase the tax burden to an average of Sh27000 per person. These Sh324 billion in new taxes and Sh41 billion in additional fees equates to that amount per person in the working age. If this is spread further to the entire population including children then it is equivalent to Sh6,000 per person in Kenya,” Muriithi said.

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