Forced Passing of Ruto’s Crazy Finance Bill is The Best Gift to Azimio to Help Them Bring Change In Kenya

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The Orange Democratic Movement party has expressed gratitude to Azimio MPs who voted against the Finance Bill 2023.

This is after 81 MPs out of 257 opposed the Bill while 176 MPs voted to endorse it at the second stage of reading on Wednesday.

In a statement, ODM said the 81 MPs spoke for millions of oppressed Kenyans.

“Congratulations to the 80 plus members of Parliament who voted against punitive Finance Bill 2023/24. Your voice has been heard. You stood with Kenya. Your vote represented millions of oppressed poor and helpless Kenyans,” the party said.

Before MPs took the vote, the House was thrown into an intense moment as either side of the divide argued their case either in favour of or against the Bill.

Azimio has since expressed optimism that all is not lost after the vote was called in Kenya Kwanza’s favour.

The Raila Odinga-led minority faction in the House resorted to singing the popular protest song ‘Bado mapambano’ after the declaration of official results.

“WaKenya msilale, lale, lale, bado mapambano, mapambano, mapambano,” they sang in unison. 

The Bill now moves to the committee of the whole House where members will have a chance to push through their amendments.

The committee will review the Bill clause by clause and have members vote on each proposal. 

Among key amendments to the Bill is the proposed 15 per cent for Digital Content Creators which has been reviewed to 5 per cent.

The proposed three per cent housing levy has also been reduced to 1.5 per cent in the new amendments.

The committee chaired by Molo MP Kimani Kuria resolved to retain the 16 per cent VAT on petroleum products which will bring the tax on petrol to the same level as kerosene and diesel.

Ahead of the vote, both President William Ruto and Azimio leader Raila Odinga had put their troops on notice saying they would be under watch to see which way they would vote on the Bill.

The Bill proposes among other things a housing levy on workers’ salaries, increased taxes on fuel, and new taxes on beauty products.

Ruto said the Bill is vital to raise revenues needed to fund his administration’s maiden budget of Sh3.6 trillion.

Many of us were of mixed minds when it came to the Ruto regime’s first budget. On the one hand, you felt let Kenyans sort this out and get a realistic budget and Finance Bill for the country that would be good for everybody.

On the other hand, you had a sense to let Ruto unleash his whole stupidity on the Kenyan economy and with the clowns surrounding him you had a feeling he will make a whole mess and then let Kenyans deal with that.

Now Ruto has it all. Kenyans will see 8% rise in VAT on the basic goods and services they use every day. That is Ruto and UDA for you. Let Kenyans deal with that. The price hikes start in two weeks’ time on July 1, 2023. Within a month William Ruto will hear from Kenyans from every part of the country about that nightmare for Kenyans. Azimio warned him about that and he refused to listen. Good. Now Ruto will hear from Kenyans from every part of the nation.

The Housing Fund scam which Ruto was forced to reduce to 1.5% instead of 3% is a sure killer for William Ruto and his government. Ruto has promised more than 200, 000 houses for Kenyans from that fund and 2 million Kenyans are employed to build those houses.

Don’t laugh now but come this time next year when Ruto has to do another budget he will have no houses to show from his Housing Fund and he will have zero employment for the youth from the fund as they are yelling now. This first budget could very well be Ruto’s great attempt at political suicide. Let him have it. This could be good for him and for the country.

William Ruto knows his dreamland homes for Kenyans is a fantasy story. He could get another Ph.D. writing this up. Go for it, Mr. President.

December 7, 2022

President William Ruto has said the plan of creating a new generation of homeowners under the Affordable Housing Programme is on course.

He said the goal of the Government is to construct 250,000 houses every year for low income-earners.

The President has already commissioned 17, 850 units in Mukuru, Rongai and Kibera to ease the housing burden affecting low-income earners.

He said the Programme also targets the over 6.5 Millions Kenyans living in slums and informal settlements.

President Ruto spoke on Wednesday during the ground-breaking ceremony of the Mavoko Affordable Housing Project in Machakos Country.

He said this confirms the Government’s strategic focus on expanding access to quality, spacious, clean, safe and secure dwelling places at affordable cost in our country.

“This transformative Plan goes beyond the provision of affordable housing units to presenting opportunities for gainful employment and wealth creation to millions of Kenyans struggling to put food on the table.”

If anybody thinks that Ruto regime’s first national budget was too messy of a joke, wait for the second one when they will have nowhere to go after making crazy promises that will go up in smoke. William Ruto quite frankly is on the path to his own destruction. At some point you say, don’t stop him and let him eat his own heart. But you still have to worry about our country going to the hole with him.

And then there are some just outright weird things in that budget. The Ruto Finance bill had proposed a 20% tax on rental income which they wanted paid within 24 hours after the rent money is received. I thought that was dumb enough.

One thing is that Rental Income cannot be taxed at the same rate between a person who gets Sh. 10,000 a month and the big boys like Ruto and Mudavadi who get Sh. 5 billion in rent income a month. The tax rate in rental income also has to go to a maximum of 35% on the high income levels.

And this is how we are building houses in Nairobi. Maybe the government can address the issue of high rise slums and work with investors in housing to build good quality houses which would be beneficial to both the investors and the renters.

On taxes I digressed because the real estate owners who have thousands of rental places for everything in Kenya like Ruto and Muda never pay taxes on their rental income. In fact they don’t even acknowledge the rental income because a lot of it comes from stolen public property which they never want to claim they own in public records.

Let’s take this guy for example.

Musalia Mudavadi wealth and list of properties owned by him,he is worth Ksh4 billion
OCTOBER 17, 2022

Musalia Mudavadi is one of the richest Luhyas in Kenya,his net worth is Ksh 4 billion. The Chief minister in William Ruto’s administration told the committee which was vetting him that his net worth is Ksh 4 billion. However, Kenyans believe he is worth more than the amount quoted by him.

Musalia Mudavadi’s assets include:

First Assurance Company Ltd

In 2015, Hon. Musalia Mudavadi along with some of Kenya’s wealthiest individuals and families became the top beneficiaries of the then wake of big-ticket acquisitions in the underwriting sector valued at over Sh10 billion.

The ANC leader alongside the late Chris Kirubi, the late John Michuki’s family, the late Godfrey Karurui’s family, the Inderjit Talwar family, and former KenGen CEO Eddy Njoroge made hundreds of millions resulting from the takeovers. They sold their interests to local and international buyers taking advantage of Kenya’s economic expansion from the domestic underwriting business. 

According to Business Daily (in an article titled Top investors Sh10bn richer after wave of insurance buyouts), the former deputy prime minister was among the investors who sold a cumulative 63.3% stake in Absa-owned First Assurance to Barclays Africa Group Ltd based in Johannesburg.

The announcement was made by Managing Directors Stephen Githiga and Jeremy Awori of the deal valued at Ksh 2.822 billion which included a Ksh 722 million capital injection to promote business. In the announcement done on 10th June 2015 at Villa Rosa Kempinski, the two entities expressed satisfaction and much promise. 

First Assurance’s MD Stephen Githiga said, “Barclays Africa will bring a strong brand as well as technical support for our products and services. Existing First Assurance customers will benefit from access to new products and services as a result of the partnership.”

Lanz Zulu, Barclays Africa’s Wealth, Investment Management, and Insurance managing executive commented on the acquisition saying, “The deal will enable us to significantly scale up First Assurance’s life insurance business using the synergies we both enjoy including branch reach and technical expertise. We shopped around but First Assurance’s capitalization, its strong board, and good reputation stood out.”

Multi-Million Karen Mansion Home

The ANC leader lives in Karen, the same neighborhood with Deputy President William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga. The Karen mansion is designed with two wings in line with the Mediterranean and French styles. The interior is decorated with choice paintings and yellow low-hanging chandeliers. Complete with a gazebo for evening conversations and relaxation.The palatial home is worth approximately Ksh 250 million.

Summary of Mudavadi’s assets

  1. Riverside Stables – Sh1 billion
  2. Rental offices – Sh870 million
  3. Helicopter rentals – Sh200m
  4. First Assuarance – Sh440m
  5. Absa Bank – Sh545m
  6. High end cars- Sh44m
  7. Jodeci Inv. – Sh120m
  8. Malulu Land & Dev- Sh250m
  9. Other – Sh650m

How much tax rental and other taxes has Mudavadi paid in 2022 and five years before that? I bet it is zero. That is why he is where he is now with Ruto. That is just one of them and that is only the property he has publicly declared which could be less than half of the other grabbed houses and properties they own and benefit from every month.

After the 2023/24 budget, as from July 1, 2023 William Ruto has the resources and the mandate to build those 250,000 houses. Kenyans will do the counting in June 2024. Fair is fair. It will be nothing and nothing in terms of houses built and jobs created. Then what?

Adongo Ogony is a Kenyan Human Rights Activist and  Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada

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