Senator Okiya Omtatah’s Case Puts Ruto Finance Act on Hold

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Okiya Omtatah’s case against Ruto’s Finance Act 2023 is now back on the front pages and the entire Ruto Act is on hold. This is the kind of stuff that has never happened in the history of our country but then again, this is the Ruto crazy regime.

Anything is possible. Kenyans are telling Ruto to bring it on. Kenyans are ready for the wars and battles to deal with Ruto and his KK gang.

Busia Senator Okiya Omtatah has welcomed the decision of the High Court to suspend the implementation of the Finance Bill.

“Nimeshukuru kwa sababu mahakama imechukua hatua ambayo inafaa; kusimamisha hiyo sheria kwa muda ili tuweze kuangalia ni nini ilitokea na kama kweli madai yangu ya kwamba ni sheria gushi ina msingi.” 

Omtatah had moved to court seeking the implementation to be halted arguing that the Act is unconstitutional.

He said this was due to how it was enacted – in violation of the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act – and the details in the bill.

The Senator said the bill should have contained the revenue estimates just like it had expenditure estimates.

He noted that the government should have explained how much revenue they expected to raise, for example, by doubling the VAT on fuel from 8 percent to 16 percent.

This would be for accountability and transparency basis.

Earlier, Lady Justice Mugure Thande said she was satisfied that Omtatah’s application met a threshold for conservatory orders.

“I am satisfied that the application meets the test of conservatory orders and I do grant prayers 2 and 3 of the application until July 5, 2023, when the matter is scheduled for mention for directions,” she ruled.

Thande further directed that the applications be served upon all parties today Friday, June 30 and responses be filed and served by July 4, 2023.

In the case that the court overturns its ruling, Omtatah said he will accept the outcome.

Here is the story we wrote about Omtatah and his bravery against state powers over the years.

Okiya Omtatah says the Truth Always. We used to call him Matata working with my Friend Njuguna Mutahi at People Against Torture (PAT).

If there is one person you can’t fool around with on matters of human and constitutional rights of Kenyans, that person is Okiya Omtatah. He has filed more cases against abuse of human rights in Kenya than all the human rights organizations in Kenya have done combined.

My good friend Waikwa Wanyoike working with the Katiba Institute has done some good things too particularly the case at the Supreme Court which declared CDF as presently funded illegal. Ruto and his government have trashed the court ruling and have unleashed CDF to MPs.

This begs the question. If the Kenya government with billions in CDF money every year since 2003 (20 years) cannot even build schools in the country how is this 3% forced tax going to make a difference?

In his speech in Busia last month, Omtatah told the President to his face that his Financial Bill is not good for Kenya adding that it is violating some aspects of the Constitution.

“The Finance Bill has both good and bad things therein. Let not these people here lie to you that everything is fine. The negative things therein, many go against the constitution,” he said. 

“Let people not fool you here, let people not deceive you. There are issues in that Bill where even the Supreme Court has pronounced itself that ought to be honoured,” he said.

Omtatah said he finished reading the Bill on Friday and further asked the President to relook at the aspects that violate the law.

He said failure to do so, he will move to court.

“You are my friend Mr President but the Constitution is a bigger friend to me.”

“I plead with you, I have already prepared a petition to go to court. But when I heard you were coming to Busia I did not file it last week. I held on. I pray that we relook at this Bill. If we can avoid fighting in court it would be good as it is bad for friends to fight,” he said. 

The Senator also weighed in on the Housing Fund debate saying it is not the first time it is being pushed to Kenyans.

This Ruto budget in parliament is being rejected by Kenyans from every part of the country. It is that bad.

MP Makau rallies colleagues to shoot down Finance Bill

Mavoko MP Patrick Makau last month urged his colleagues from other constituencies to oppose the proposed Finance Bill, 2023 when tabled in Parliament.

Makau said Kenyans were already overburdened with the high cost of living and therefore the Bill was untimely.

“This Finance Bill should be progressive. If economy gets better, we shall accept. But the way it is, we will not accept. So, it’s a law that I as your representative in Parliament will oppose knowing that you are already suffered a lot,” Makau said.

The legislator who doubles as a Commissioner in the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) told Kenyans not to be cheated.

“I know you have come from different parts of the country. Tell your MPs that the day Finance Bill, 2023 will come to Parliament, all of us let’s shoot it down as legislators. Sisi sote wakenya tuseme hi haiwezekani kwa wakati huu (Let us all as Kenyans say this cannot be implemented now,” Makau said.

He criticised the government’s intention to impose three percent on Kenyans’ salaries for the affordable housing program.

“The three per cent that you are being told means that you will be taxed so as to be bought for a house by the government. Will you buy a house if you haven’t eaten anything? This is supposed to be voluntary, you can’t force a Kenyan to pay Sh3,000,” Makau said.

“Assume you earn Sh100,000 monthly as net salary, remove three per cent, that’s Sh3,000 per month, in twelve months, it’s Sh36,000. That totals to Sh360,000 in ten years, Sh720,000 in 20 years. There is no house worth Sh720,000,” Makau said.

“Ask yourselves where this money will go. We are telling them, show us why it’s not going to the consolidated fund. Tupewe the legal framework hi pesa ikiokotwa itakua inaenda wapi (Let us be given the legal framework for us to know where this money will be going,” Makau said.

The legislator enlightened the faithful on the bill’s content.

“What’s in the Finance Bill of 2023? If you look into the Bill, and I’m speaking with authority in finance. The bill says that if you get involved in an accident and get compensated, the government takes 16 per cent as tax. If you are paid Sh1 million for instance, government goes with Sh160,000, you are given Sh840,000.

“The bill further imposes 20 per cent on internet and telephone use. If you make a call, 20 per cent will be charged on your airtime, 20 per cent will apply when you buy a phone, 20 per cent will apply when you connect on Telecom Kenya.

“There is a eight per cent increase in fuel levy. That means petroleum will be charged 16 per cent, that’s 100 per cent increase in petroleum tax. What doesn’t it mean? That products of petrol, paraffin and diesel will go up by 16 per cent thereby increasing the cost of doing business,” Makau explained.

The MP also said cutting funding for students in private universities was dangerous to the country’s education sector.

He said majority of learners who depend on bursaries for their education were suffering since constituencies were yet to receive funds from Treasury.

“Each constituency has received Sh47 million, Sh100 million is yet to be released to the constituencies. It’s now nearing June, meaning the 2022/2023 Financial Year is ending. Pray we get NGCDF so that children can go to school and we construct classrooms,” Makau said.

Now leave it to the jobless Twitter superstars to save Ruto. Good Luck with that.

The panic team is on. Here is the advice for Omtatah from an Ababu Namwamba an advocate who has never appeared in court even to defend a chicken thief or even ever address a judge in a court of law anywhere in Kenya.

Here is The Grand Busia Stadium where Ababu and KK politicians from the area hosted William Ruto. The pathetic state of the meeting place says all you need to know about how William Ruto really cares for the people of Busia where he held his grand rally to drum support for his Finance Bill.

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

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