Inside Politics

‘Arrogance and chest thumping’ – Kenyans react to Gachagua’s Finance Bill remarks in Kitui

Sunday, June 4th, 2023 09:35 | By
'Arrogance and chest thumping' - Kenyans react to Gachagua's Finance Bill remarks in Kitui
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua during a past function. PHOTO/Courtesy

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua is under fire from a section of Kenyans over his recent remarks that the Finance Bill 2023 will pass despite fierce opposition from the Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya coalition.

Speaking in Kitui when he presided over a fundraiser at St Charles Lwangwa Boys Secondary School on Saturday, June 3, 2023, Gachagua said the Kenya Kwanza administration is not worried because they have the numbers in the National Assembly to ensure the Bill sails through.

Gachagua insisted that the die is cast on the proposed law despite huge opposition from members of the public during a recent public participation exercise. Notably, the Bill attracted about 1,000 memoranda out of which more than 900 opposed sections of the proposed law.

He asked the opposition not to waste time opposing the Bill because it will pass without their support.

"The truth is, and you know it very well, even if you oppose the Finance Bill, it will still pass. You do not have the numbers. So what is the need to oppose something that is going to pass anyway? There is no need," Gachagua said while responding to opposition legislators including Kitui Central MP Makali Muli who have vowed to oppose the Bill in Parliament.

The country's second in command said the leaders opposed to the Bill are doing so to please their electorate instead of facing the reality.

He said the Bill, which seeks to amend various laws relating to taxes and duties to increase revenue collected through taxes, would help the government meet its mandate.

"I am a person who speaks the truth; people must give taxes to finance our capital and recurrent expenditure... there was a call to recruit more teachers, who will pay for this? I can't pay for it with my Ksh1 million salary... that money will be gotten from the citizens," he added.

The remarks elicited a heated debate online with a section of netizens accusing the deputy president of arrogance. They faulted the DP for ignoring concerns from Kenyans struggling to make a living.

Among the proposals in the Finance Bill that have attracted criticism is the 3 per cent housing levy.

Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya coalition leader Raila Odinga last month said the housing levy is unsustainable and should be shelved.

Speaking during a prayer meeting at Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka's farm in Yatta on May 26, the opposition chief accused President William Ruto's Kenya Kwanza administration of overburdening the taxpayer.

Raila noted that the government was wrong to introduce the levy when the country is struggling economically.

"You cannot introduce an additional tax when the economy is in depression, you can't do it. Where did you get the three per cent from? If you are saying it is an investment, how about the employer? What is the employer investing in?"

More on Inside Politics