OPINION: I Applaud Kenyan youth- Gen Z- for brave show in rejecting finance bill- Hon. Lucy Mworia,HSC


By Hon. Lucy Mworia,HSC

Kenya is a country that is founded on democratic principles, rule of law and respect for the constitution.  The Kenya Constitution 2010 under article 47 grants every Kenya the right to peacefully assemble, picket and demonstrate.

The whole of last week, we witnessed the courage of our young people, the Gen Z and the millennials. Against a backdrop of the debating of the Finance bill 2024 in the National Assembly, these young Kenyans rose and demonstrated to the world that indeed, Kenya belongs to the people. In one voice, they reminded us that indeed, the sovereignty of Kenya belongs to the people.

Gen Z, as they are commonly referred to- courageously stepped up and out to speak and demand to be heard. They demanded boldly for the total rejection of the punitive and harsh Finance Bill 2024 which seeks to introduce a raft of taxes that are hardly beneficial to an already crippled economy and I join the country in applauding these young men and women for standing up to raise their voice and demand for accountability and a governance that listens to the citizens.

Upon their loud voices, the Kenya Kwanza government tried to hoodwink Kenyans by dropping some of the proposed tax measures in the finance bill, while sneaking in others and therefore making it a circus of deception. Dropping the motor vehicle circulation tax and increasing fuel levy is giving on one hand and taking more on the other hand. Besides, the Gen Z protests demanded for the total rejection of the finance bill 2024 not amendment of the bill, which parliament is doing without listening to the voices of the people.  

Now as a person who hails from and loves my home County of Isiolo, as I support the Gen Z protests and condemn the harassment meted on these peaceful, unarmed youths, I also must record my reservations on the bill.

This bill is not only going to be a pain for the country but at a smaller scale, it will be a pain for the people of Isiolo County. Having read the bill, and considered its implications on Isiolo County, I reject it and call on our members of parliament to reject it altogether. This punitive bill seeks to remove tax exemptions from the tourism sector and as we all know; tourism is a growing industry in Isiolo and therefore it impedes the growth of our county.

The bill seeks to increase taxes for Eco Levy meaning that there will be increased taxation on sanitary towels and baby diapers that are not locally made. Kenya however has no enough capacity to produce enough sanitary towels and diapers locally and a large percentage are imported, therefore increasing Eco levy and taxing on their import is going to cause an increase in the prices of sanitary towels and diapers, products which are already unavailable and hard to get for many people in our society.

Did you know that if this bill passes, your parcel of land, the plot that you have struggled to buy, that land you have inherited and any other will become leased land? That should you fail to pay the prescribed fees or land rates charged, the government can auction it? Therefore, if this bill passes, Kenyans will literally cease to be lad owners while we well know that majority of Kenyans are farmers practicing crop cultivation or livestock keeping.

The finance bill 2024 proposed an increase in taxes for money transfers and this will include an increase in the charges of using MPESA which will affect your ability to send and receive money using your mobile phone while we know that the Use of MPESA has transformed the way of doing business enabling millions of mobile money transactions daily. This is just a fee of the things the Finance Bill seeks to add.

Instead of the government cutting its expenditure on unnecessary budgets and put up a fight against corruption, while encouraging accountability on the use of public funds, they have chosen to just increase taxes that will ultimately be misused and embezzled.

Until we see positive change and progress in our country, they should not increase anything!

I am extremely disappointed by the decision of our elected leaders from Isiolo county who intentionally ignored the cries of Kenyans who trusted and elected them to parliament and voted YES to the killer bill.

I can only hope that in the upcoming 2027 general election, the Gen Z , the Millennials and the other voters will stand only with those who are integral and stand by their word and mostly wish the best for their people.

I support you our young people (Gen Z) and I will continue to encourage you, that what your efforts are not in vain. I bless you as a mother and hope your bravery and strength will bear fruits. Galma Dido,and all the other sons and daughters of the soil, thank you for leading from the front.

On behalf of the good people of Isiolo County, I join the millions of Kenyan voices saying loudly- I REJECT FINANCE BILL 2024 IN TOTALITY!

The Writer, Hon. Lucy Mworia, HSC is an Educationist and older persons rights activist.

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