Raila Odinga, the leader of the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party, has issued a challenge to President William Ruto. In response to the Head of State’s New Year’s message, Raila called on President Ruto to diminish his inclination for taxation and work towards lowering the overall cost of living in the country.
Speaking on Monday at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega County, the opposition leader noted that Kenyans have had a tumultuous year marked by economic hardship, and asked the Kenya Kwanza administration to slam the breaks on Executive spending and wastage, as a gift to Kenyans in the New Year.
Mr. Odinga continued his onslaught against what he terms a punitive taxation regime, as he vowed to mount pressure on the government to cut taxes, which he says have pushed the prices of essential commodities such as groceries and fuel out of control.
The former premier outlined a raft of proposals that the opposition intends to adopt in the New Year to tame what he termed as the government’s appetite for taxes, including a possible resumption of mass action to compel the government to reconsider its contested policies.
He said it’s time for the government to stop turning a deaf ear to the pleas of Kenyans, vowing that the high taxation regime witnessed in the country in the last one year must come to an end.
“Tunataka kuona mwaka huu 2024 ikiwa mzuri kuliko ile ya 2023. Tunataka ushuru ishuke na gharama ya maisha irudi chini,” said Mr. Odinga.
He pledged to form a broad-based anti-tax campaign to pursue budget cuts that would allow Kenyans to keep much more of their hard-earned money, adding that the opposition has no qualms about resuming anti-government street protests if the Kenya Kwanza government fails to remove the Finance Act, 2023.
“Zakayo awache kutoza watu ushuru…Zakayo ashuke…akuje hapa chini pamoja na sisi,” added the Azimio chief.
Accompanied by other opposition leaders at the Bukhungu stadium where he presided over the finals of the Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa Cup, Mr. Odinga also took the opportunity to call for reforms in the management of football affairs in the country.
He faulted the government for neglecting sports talents in the country, adding that Kakamega has been a haven of football talent in the country but has been neglected by the Ministry of Sports.