Kenya: We Are Not Scared, Intimidated, We Are in Leadership to Make Hard Choices, Gachagua Says of Azimio Demands

Nyeri — Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has scoffed at the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya’s demands on the withdrawal of the Finance Bill 2023 saying they will not be intimidated.

The Deputy President told the coalition’s leader Raila Odinga that Kenya Kwanza will not be cowed by his demands.

“We are not scared and intimidated because we are in leadership to make decision for the benefit of the country. We are not cowards, I have seen you (Odinga) have given demands, you are giving demands as who? Who elected you? Wait for 2027 to persuade the people to elect you,” Gachagua said.

He questioned how antigovernmental protests staged by the Opposition Coalition will alleviate Kenyans from the harsh economic times.

“When you wear Sufurias in your head, how will it help the situation. I want to thank you my people because you have decided not to join them because we are people of respect,” Gachagua stated.

Gachagua insisted that the government must make hard choices to salvage the nation from the dilapidated economy which has led to high inflation and increased cost of living.

He urged Kenyans to brace themselves for tough times following the increase of taxes should the Finance Bill 2023 sail through as proposed emphasizing it will have a positive turn around effect in the economy.

“President Ruto and all those who work under him must make hard choices. The decision might be hard for now but along they way they will be rewarding along the way,” Gachagua noted.

The second in command pointed an accusing finger on Odinga alleging that his March 2018 handshake between with Former President Uhuru Kenyatta derailed the delivery of the Jubilee government and further raided the economy.

“You were in Uhuru’s government as an advisor, you will have opined what you are telling us now. You did nothing and left us a country that is torn apart. You destroyed the Jubilee agenda completely but taking us to a useless agenda like BBI,” Gachagua expressed.

Yesterday, Odinga had implored his erstwhile rival President William Ruto to withdraw the contentious Finance Bill 2023 immediately.

Odinga has asked President Ruto’s administration to commence the process of formulating the tax bill afresh and to further seek forgiveness and apology to the common Mwananchi following the agitation the bill has erupted.

The Finance Committee is expected to table the bill in the National Assembly next Tuesday, days before the budgeting reading having undergone public participation.

“We ask Ruto to humble himself, withdraw this bill and offer an apology and seek forgiveness from Kenyans from the anxiety caused and begin afresh,” he said.

Despite losing out in numbers in the National Assembly to defeat the Finance Bill, the Azimio Coalition is hopeful that lawmakers will vote to oppose the bill citing the tax burden Kenyans will bear if it sails through.

However, should the MPs vote along political party lines, Odinga has said they will move the tussle to the streets.

Odinga pointed out that the Kenya Kwanza Administration had resorted to threats to intimidate legislators to pass the Finance Bill.

“We have noted that the regime has ran out of sound bites and explanations for these proposals and has resorted to threats. But we have agreed with our MPs on what to do: vote against any tax rises,” Odinga stated.

“Should Ruto overrun the National Assembly, we will regroup and overrun him in the wider National Assembly of the whole people of Kenya,” he added.

The Azimio Coalition Leader spelled doom on the country in the event the Finance Bill passes with the proposal submitted by the National Treasury.

He cited that the move to amend laws relating to various taxes and duties such as the Income Tax Act, Value Added Tax (VAT) Act, Tax Procedures Act and Excise Duty Act will stifle the economic growth in the country.

“This Bill is economic sabotage. If Ruto insists on this Bill, this country will go into full recession. This Bill requires and must get fierce resistance,”Odinga noted.

Poking holes on the Housing Flagship Project by the government which will require employed Kenyans to part with 3 percent of their salary, Odinga termed it a fantasy dream.