Citing housing tax, Seth Panyako resigns from UDA post

A file photo of Seth Panyako, who resigned on May 27, 2023, from his position as UDA's national vice chair in charge of planning and logistics. 

Seth Panyako, vice chair of President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA), has announced his resignation from the ruling party over his strong opposition to the proposed 3 percent housing levy.

Mr Panyako, who was speaking during the burial service of prominent Western politician John Hamisi in Kakamega County, said he quit the party after consulting with President Ruto.

“I had a conversation with President Ruto at 7pm. I cannot continue serving in the position of vice chairperson due to my strong opposition to the housing fund and the rising cost of living. On behalf of my late friend (John Hamisi), I announce my resignation,” Mr Panyako told the mourners.

He accused the Kenya Kwanza administration of coming up with punitive policies such as the housing levy and imposing taxes on essential items, leading to a high cost of living.

Mr Panyako's exit from the party comes a few weeks after the trade unionist held a press conference and accused President Ruto of betrayal.

“I don’t understand whether the President is the one  with whom we sat in Karen and discussed how the country should move forward ... how the whole administration had messed up the country. I do not believe it is the same William Samoei Ruto I sat with when he was the deputy president. He has changed dramatically. He has become somebody else. I don’t understand,” he said.

He had also previously accused a number of individuals surrounding President Ruto of misadvising him on how to manage the economy.

According to Mr Panyako, President Ruto’s economic policies will scare away investors and negatively affect the employees and employers.

Mr Panyako is the secretary-general for the Kenya National Union of Nurses. He was also recently appointed a member of the Local Authorities Provident Fund Board (LAPFUND) for a period of three years, by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u.