Inside Politics

Raila outlines 3-point New Year resolution aimed at easing tax burden for Kenyans

Sunday, December 31st, 2023 13:03 | By
Raila terms Ruto's 'threats' against investors as reckless
Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya coalition leader Raila Odinga during a past function. PHOTO/Raila Odinga(@RailaOdinga)/X

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya leader Raila Odinga has promised Kenyans that he will put up a spirited fight against over-taxation and high cost of living come 2024.

Raila outlined his New Year resolution in a statement on December 30, 2023.

"Dear Kenyans, the year 2023 has ended the way it started; with difficulties that include the highest cost of living and levels of taxation never witnessed in our 60-year history as a country. Given the circumstances we find ourselves in, we have a responsibility to speak to you with the candour and honesty that the present situation of our Nation requires.

"These times require us to speak the truth, the whole truth, honestly, candidly and boldly. We emphasize truth and honesty because these two have died in the current administration. There was a time when the government’s word counted and wananchi did not have to doubt. Today, Kenyans have to cross-check and double check whatever the government says because the Kenya Kwanza regime has made lying a tool for governing," Raila said.

The Azimio leader further highlighted the three main issues he is looking forward to canvassing in the New Year, noting that his focus is on education, taxation and corruption.


On education, Raila claimed that the Kenya Kwanza administration was underfunding the sector putting free and compulsory education at risk.

"The government is supposed to send Ksh22,440 per student per year to secondary schools. It is also supposed to send Ksh1200 per year for every primary school pupil. But secondary schools got only Ksh12,000 in 2023. The whereabouts of the other half of the money is unknown. Monies long released by the National Treasury are disappearing at the Ministry of Education while children and teachers suffer. Schools have huge pending bills.

"Headteachers have no money for maintenance, payment of non-teaching staff and purchase of equipment. Even feeding children in boarding schools is a headache. It is a direct result of inefficiency, corruption and nepotism at the Ministry of Education," he said.

Raila revealed that the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party would go to court to sort out the aforementioned issues in the education sector.

"As a party, we have tasked our MPs push and we also plan to go to court to force the Ministry of Education to release full capitation to schools, both primary and secondary so that schools can start the year smoothly. Why would a government deny a primary school child her Sh1200 in a year? We also want the Exchequer and HELB to release loans to university students.

"The same must apply to TVET institutions and TTCs which have now resorted to charging parents exorbitantly. As this happens, the corrupt are taking their children to private schools. We also demand that Universities Funding Board releases scholarship money to students who are unable to pay fees," Raila said.


On taxation, Raila reckoned that Kenyans are grappling with record-high price inflation. He stated that the price of groceries, petroleum products, and other essentials are out of control as a result of taxes.

"We are going to press for a taxation plan that provides for an across-the-board income tax rate
reduction for all Kenyans who pay income taxes. We will task our lawmakers to reject any proposal to establish new taxes on anything. Through different avenues, we will also continue to fight the old taxes that came into force last July," Raila said.

"We will also institute measures to repeal the policy of taxing remittance flows from the diaspora
because it is a bad idea. Other than amounting to double taxation, it also punishes those who went abroad simply because Kenya could not provide for them," he added.


On corruption, Raila claimed that graft is domiciled at key institutions like the Kenya National Trading Corporation, the Ministries of Energy and Petroleum, the National Treasury, Health and Education.

"Foreign companies are fleeing and local ones are downsizing. The majority of the private
sector are the so-called 'hustlers' who are currently being robbed and taxed into poverty. And the
majority of hustlers are young people. The Kenya Kwanza government has gone to war against the future, against the young. The young people who were told bottom-up policies would dismantle the dynasties now realize they are being forced to participate in the creation of a new dynasty," Raila said.

The Azimio leader said that the coalition with reach out to civil societies and other entities to smoke out corruption and force the corrupt out of office.

"As Kenyans go through the worst time in their lives, the corrupt in government say it has never been this good. They are having the best time of their lives. We are reaching out to civil society organizations and our citizens to form a strong coalition to smoke out corruption and force the corrupt out of office through the justice system and other legal means," he said.

Adding; "In this New Year, we shall organize to liberate ourselves from oppression and exploitation. We shall exercise our sovereign power of the people to stop the death and suffering of the people and restore our dignity and well-being. We shall work with all people of goodwill to restore hope and faith in our nation. We are willing to build a coalition of citizens who are willing to plan, mobilize, and organize effectively to reclaim and take back our nation."

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