Ruto Violating Court Order on his Finance Act 2023 Amounts to Contempt of Court

12 mins read
Busia Senator Okiya Omtatah has vowed to file contempt proceedings against the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) for violating a court order suspending the Finance Act 2023.

Omtatah made the announcement on Sunday stating that he had already informed EPRA Managing Director Daniel Kiptoo of his intentions if the authority fails to comply with the court order.

“I talked to the MD EPRA. We focused on the court orders that suspended the Finance Act and they gave an injunction against any part of it. [I]Told him if they ignore, I’ll file contempt proceeding against them for disobeying court orders,” he said.

Omtatah intends to file contempt of court proceeding against the agency tasked to regulate prices of petroleum communities followed an advisory reviewing fuel prices upwards on account of a 16 per cent VAT charge introduced under the Finance Act.

EPRA adjusted fuel prices on Friday despite a court order temporarily halting the implementation of the Finance Act 2023, following a case filed by activists led by Omtatah. 

The prices which became effective on Saturday, July 1, marked an eight per cent increment on account of a doubled VAT rate.

The review resulted in petrol retailing at Sh195.5 in Nairobi while diesel’s price per litre was set at Sh179.8.

It seems the Ruto regime is determined to impose their taxes on Kenyans even after a Kenyan court has issued an order suspending implementation of the Ruto Finance Act until the cases filed against the Act are heard and resolved.

William Ruto thinks he is above the laws of the country and would not waste his time obeying court orders if he doesn’t like them. That is double foolishness. Number one if they go ahead and impose the taxes like VAT Kenyans will notice that immediately at the gas station. That will make Kenyans really mad because they know the VAT 8% tax increase is suspended awaiting court hearings. This will add huge fuel to the already planned mass action opposing Ruto’s refusal to listen to Kenyans on the taxes.

Secondly as already indicated by Senator Okiya Omtatah who filed the cases there is going to be a case against the Ruto government for contempt of court. That will be an easy case to win and the consequence is that government officials disobeying the court orders will be sent to jail until they rescind all actions that have disobeyed the court order.

I know a thing or two about contempt of court cases because I have one going on against the Kenya government right now and in a few days my lawyers will be in court for a ruling on contempt of court charges we filed against the Kenya government last year.

My contempt of court case arises from my case against the Kenya government in 2014 where I sued the government for torturing and jailing me for my actions as a student leader against the Moi dictatorship. I won the case in 2014 and Justice Isaac Lenaola the then presiding judge in my case awarded me Sh. 5 million for the torture at Nyayo House and in prison.

Kenya government then after another long battle paid part of the money in 2021. They still owe me a whole bunch and my lawyer filed for contempt of court which we won just before the former government left office. When the contempt case came to court the new government of Ruto told the court they are going to sort it out which they haven’t done and now we are back for a ruling to put the PS for the Interior Ministry in jail.

Contempt of court cases are very simple. If you disobey a court order to do or to stop doing something you are sentenced to jail. There are no two ways around it. So if the Ruto goofs disobey the court order on taxes they are going to be sent to jail and Ruto will be forced to rescind the decision to impose the taxes and await court ruling on the matter. That is on the legal side but on the political end of things the consequences could be way worse.

If Ruto imposes the taxes and the crying Kenyans are saved by a contempt of court ruling that will be a big sigh of relief. Can anyone imagine what will happen and how Kenyans will react if the court allows Ruto to go ahead with VAT and other taxes. If the taxes are imposed then withdrawn and finally imposed again Kenyans will realize that the solution to the whole problem is in their hands.

The court shall have told Kenyans that if a government decides to kill its citizens by taxing them to death that is an issue for those citizens to deal with and solve and no court will help them with that and that is precisely what Kenyans will do and it will not be fun time for William Ruto.

At this time some of the Ruto boys like Musalia Mudavadi are Ng’ung’unikaring behind their little chief priest but a court ruling is just that and there is not a damn thing any of them can do about it.

“It is true that the Judiciary must be independent, and it is also true that its independence is guaranteed within the Constitution. But it is also important that the Judiciary becomes alive to what we call public interest. Public interest should always be taken into account when courts are pronouncing themselves on certain key matters,” said Mudavadi.

Mudavadi calling on the courts as they exercise their mandate to also think of what is good for this nation and her people.

“I hope the Judiciary in its own wisdom will also make corrective action because Kenya is moving and it is racing against time. The economy recovery process is a race against time, the President has set the pace we cannot afford to lose any more time.”

The Ruto boys can cry all they want but it would be helpful if they could advise their king to obey the laws of the land. Someone should tell Mudavadi that the government following the laws is what is in the best public interest.

As to how the court will rule on the whole case nobody knows. My guess is that the court will allow the taxes like VAT and others to go on and basically tell Kenyans that if your government wants to kill you that is your problem to solve.

The Housing Levy may be another issue altogether because here is a case where the Ruto government are imposing a levy as tax. If people want to save for housing that is their right but it cannot be imposed as a form of tax. Either way Ruto and his mob have to wait until the courts decide before they can start killing Kenyans with taxes then deal with those Kenyans.

If you want to know how dysfunctional and irresponsible the Ruto regime is here is Ruto planting a tree for show while at the same venue while lifting the ban on logging from Kenyan forests. Ruto was issuing orders to get loggers back to cut trees from Kenyan forests fully clad in his uniform as the protector of the Kenyan forests.

President William Ruto has defended his government’s move to lift the logging ban in government forests that was imposed six years ago.

“Trees are decaying in the forest while people are struggling to get timber. Do you see the foolishness? We have lifted the ban so that we can harvest mature trees. Whoever imports furniture will be taxed because we want all that to be made in the country,” Ruto said.

On Saturday, he led a tree planting exercise in Elgeyo Marakwet, Trans-Nzoia and Uasin Gishu Counties.

That is William Ruto for you. Lead tree planting and yell about fighting climate change while allowing his rich friends and himself to cut down Kenyan forests to make big money. This is the nightmare regime Kenyans have to deal with and the time to do so is right at the door.

“Sasa miti inaoza huku kwa msitu na watu wanahangaika pande hii hawana mbao, hii maneno yote tumeondoa na tumesema tutafanya na mpango,” he said. 

” I appeal to every Kenyan to plant at least 30 trees each year, in order to properly participate in this programme as mandated by the Constitution and contribute to our collective climate action targets,” said President Ruto.

But Mr. President if every Kenyan needs to plant 30 trees each year, how many forest trees are you and your friends going to cut from Kenyan forests everyday forget every year? 30,000 trees cut per day could be a good start?

Ruto stated that lifting the logging moratorium, which has been in effect since 2018, will create jobs for both youths and businesses, and is in line with the government’s plan to plant 15 billion trees in ten years.

The moratorium was imposed in response to public outrage over illegal logging, which environmentalists blamed for Kenya’s dwindling forest cover as well as damage to the country’s water towers.

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

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