Opposition leader Raila Odinga yesterday dismissed President William Ruto’s government and labelled him an enemy of the Hustler Nation as well as democracy owing to the crashing taxation proposals, and what he said was a move by the Head of State to buy off opposition leaders.
Mr Odinga said Dr Ruto, who rode on a populist agenda to uplift the common man and small businesses, has turned against the very people that took him to State House.
“Ruto is not even consulting. He is coming up with taxes that are a crashing burden to the very lowly placed, on whose shoulders he campaigned,” he said in Murang’a County.
He added that President Ruto “is an enemy of democracy who is openly promoting political prostitution by buying off leaders elected on other tickets”.
Mr Odinga was attending the burial service for Ms Mary Nyambura Cyrus at Anglican Church in Gitui.
The deceased was the mother of Ms Jane Waigwe who is former Murang’a governor Mr Mwangi wa Iria’s wife.
He also said the proposed housing levy, which was to be attached to employees and their employers was thoughtless.
“If an employee has their own home, does not need one or can afford their own arrangements to own one, why would the government force them to buy homes?” he posed.
Mr Odinga accused the Kenya Kwanza Alliance government of coming up with the “draconian Finance Bill 2023 that even wants to make it hard to be beautiful by taxing beauty products”.
He also accused the Ruto administration of being tribal, adding that “personally I cannot promote tribalism at all costs, I believe in nationalism”.
In Kitui, where Mr Odinga attended the burial of Yatta’s longest-serving MP Gideon Munyao Mutiso, the opposition chief said that it was immoral for the government to impose more taxes on Kenyans “who are already overtaxed”.
“We are in very tough times because the cost of living is very high. The cost of basic commodities such as unga is unaffordable to low-income earners, yet the government is planning to impose more taxes. The proposed tax will hurt more Kenyans such as women who are the consumers of beauty products that are targeted for taxation,” he said.
He went on: “We acknowledge that the government can only prosper through taxation. However, Kenyans are already overtaxed. Imposing more taxes will not be necessary if you can address wastage of public money. This is what we did with President Mwai Kibaki. We did not increase taxes. We sealed all avenues for theft and wastage and the economy recovered.”
In Murang’a, Mr Odinga also accused the government of managing the “Shakahola massacre in a manner likely to suggest it has something to hide”.
He said that when he recently attempted to go to Shakahola to witness bodies being dug out, “the security officers chased me out saying they did not want witnesses”.
He said: “There is something this government is hiding. An issue of such public interest needs openness. A situation where children were being hit with mallets on the head to die and other humans being starved and suffocated to death is worrying.”