National Assembly Chief Whip, Silvanus Osoro, has revealed an elaborate scheme used by the ruling coalition, Kenya Kwanza, to defeat the opposition in the vote on the Finance Bill, 2023.
The South Mugirango MP revealed the dirty and unethical tricks they used to woo their Azimio counterparts, including arm-twisting the opposition through bribery, which resulted in the ruling party gaining a numerical advantage in Parliament to pass the government's controversial Finance Bill.
Mr Osoro said the government spent a lot of money (although he did not specify how much) to manipulate opposition MPs to stay away from parliament during the vote so that it could pass with little opposition.
"I had to look for ways, by hook or by crook, to get it through, I had to manipulate systems, I looked for ways to get the opposition MPs to play our tune, I conspired with the opposition MPs and got some of them to absent themselves from the House so that I could get the numbers. Some were sponsored to go abroad while others were bribed to feign illness," Mr Osoro claimed.
Speaking during a UDA recruitment drive in Kitutu Chache South Constituency, the MP also said that the government will use all means to ensure that the courts do not overturn the bill, which was assented to by President William Ruto.
Although the Nation could not independently confirm Mr Osoro's claims from some of the Azimio lawmakers spoken to as they declined to comment on the matter, residents have raised questions as to why a person holding a top position in the National Assembly - one of the three arms of government - would make such statements in public with such implications on the integrity of lawmakers.
"I heard some people saying MPs should have voted ‘No’, while others said vote ‘Yes’ to the Finance Bill. Some told me to vote ‘No’. Let me ask you, I am the Chief Whip of the Government. .. the bill that is being debated is that before it is presented in Parliament and before anyone else sets eyes on it, it first comes to my desk. We are the ones who draft these bills," said Mr Osoro, "If it gets to the floor and is voted down, the position for Osoro is gone. I cannot allow that to happen. If it is voted down, my position as chief whip could be taken away.”
He added that although the bill would hurt those in employment, the government had ensured that the salaries of civil servants was adjusted upwards to offset the income they will potentially lose.
"After the salaries were adjusted, civil servants were asked to give away 1.5 per cent, but even if you don't cooperate, you shouldn't resist because it's already a done deal," Osoro commented, insisting, “we will manipulate every system to ensure that we win, we will use our methods to ensure that things do not change," he said.
"Although we used crooked means to pass the bill, it is not really very bad for the commoners. It hurts those who are employed a little bit, but in general it is a good bill," said the National Assembly Majority Whip, pointing out that had the Finance Bill not been passed , the country would have “lost out on development.”