Vote No! Azimio instructs its MPs to shoot down William Ruto's Sh3.9trn Budget

Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya Alliance leaders, led by Wiper Party Leader Kalonzo Musyoka, address the media on the impact of the 2024 Budget at SKM Command Centre in Nairobi on June 14, 2024.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

The fight against President William Ruto’s proposed Sh3.914 trillion Budget has gone a notch higher, with the Opposition instructing its MPs to shoot it down, citing "massive corruption" and "misplaced allocations".

The Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya Alliance on Friday alleged Sh1 trillion “budgeted corruption” in the Sh3.914 trillion expenditure plan that was unveiled by National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung'u on Thursday.

The alliance led by Raila Odinga also condemned what it termed as “punitive taxes” in Finance Bill 2024, saying the measures taken to finance the ambitious Budget would stifle the economy.

Preaching austerity

The coalition took issue with increased multi-billion-shilling allocations to the Office of the President, the Office of the Deputy President and at least five ministries yet Dr Ruto’s regime has been preaching austerity.

The flagged increased allocations are: Office of the Executive President (Sh1.2 billion), Office of the Deputy President (Sh 678 million) and ministries of Defence (Sh11 billion), Foreign Affairs (Sh1.4 billion), the National Treasury (Sh6 billion), Transport Sh1.3 billion and Cooperatives (Sh2 billion).

“Further, we highlight the following misplaced allocations: The National Treasury has Sh26 billion more in the name of development. The State Department for Devolution has an increase of Sh 2.6 billion in development expenditure. If this regime believes in the success of devolution, then these funds should form part of the Equitable Share to the County Governments,”  the coalition's statement reads in part. 

'Retrogressive' proposals

“The State Department of Housing has been allocated an additional Sh72 billion. This is higher than that of 10 counties combined. What is line item ‘1071106600 - Strategic Response to Public Initiatives’ that comes to Sh 2.5 billion if not budgeted corruption?”

While terming several clauses in the bill as retrogressive, Wiper Democratic Movement party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, who led the Azimio brigade, said the passage of the bill would lead to massive job losses and negatively impact the cost of living.

“The budgetary allocations do not promote economic growth, but betray Kenyans. This regime has concealed its true goals of maintaining an oppressive, unequal system benefiting a select few elites under the illusion of progress,” he said.

Kenya Kwanza's prioritisation of selective shareholder financial gain over the needs of Kenyan citizens is a shameful decision, given the country's high living expenses, poverty, and unemployment.”

Motor vehicle tax

Mr Musyoka also said the tax measures such as the proposed 2.5 per cent motor vehicle tax on the value of motor vehicles would raise the cost of car ownership and result in high insurance rates.

“It is predicted to have an impact on the transportation and logistics industries, thereby increasing the cost of living via a multiplier effect.”

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna said the party had already written letters to all the MPs, directing them to show up in Parliament next week

“We have urged them to suspend all the trips and engagements outside Nairobi and outside the country ahead of the Finance Bill 2024 next week. Any MP who does otherwise will be subjected to disciplinary action as per the rules of the party,” Mr Sifuna said.