Kenyans can’t breathe, Archbishop Anthony Muheria tells President Ruto

Archbishop Anthony Muheria

Nyeri Catholic Archbishop Anthony Muheria addresses journalists at Our Lady of Consolata Cathedral in Nyeri town on June 16.

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi I Nation Media Group

Nyeri Catholic Archbishop Anthony Muheria has asked President William Ruto’s administration to listen and consider the opinions of Kenyans on the Finance Bill, 2024, saying the poor “are not breathing” due to over-taxation.

Addressing the media at the Nyeri Cathedral on Sunday, the cleric said the government had in the past disregarded the voices of Kenyans.

Listen to voices of Kenyans on Finance Bill, 2024: Archbishop Anthony Muheria to govt

He told legislators to be guided by their conscience and not other influences when the Bill goes to Parliament for debate

“Let’s not mince our words. We are overtaxing our people and this disordered, disconnected, disjointed plan of increasing taxes or looking for new areas of getting taxes have a negative impact on our economy and it is going to seriously injure the ordinary Kenyan.

“Listen to the voices of the people because the economic situation is very unfavourable ... we are strained economically and our legislators should be guided by their conscience and not other influences,” he said.

“The indispensable issue that must underpin all decisions of the government and any legislation must be the concern and effects that those things will have on the poor people. Anything we do as leaders must have a major concern over impact on the poor in this country. It is not about much how much KRA (Kenya Revenue Authority) collects, it’s about how our people can live a life worth living,” he added.

Bishop Muheria said the government should be transparent on how the taxes collected are being used and tackle corruption, which he said gobbles up about 30 per cent of what is collected.

“Let us also think about how we are using these taxes. Currently, our children in secondary schools are not receiving capitation. If NHIF (National Health Insurance Fund) cannot pay the bills in hospitals then where is the tax money going? It means it’s being wasted,” he said.

Archbishop Muheria to politicians: Respect places of worship

The cleric stated that the church was not against taxes because it believed they could be used to uplift the common Kenyan, however, taxation must be done in a rational way. He accused the government of trying to achieve everything at a go at the expense of Kenyans.

Bishop Muheria said the government stood accused of treating with contempt and disdain the opinions of the majority of Kenyans on national issues.

“We notice these days the government doesn’t care, they have total disregard for the opinions of the poor,” he said.