Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga over the weekend urged Kenyans to resist paying taxes, claiming that they were “punitive” and unjust.
During a rally at Jacaranda grounds, the opposition leader likened the current government to the biblical tax collector Zacchaeus, known for his unethical and exploitative practices.
“We ask that all Kenyans demand the removal of these punitive taxes… There will be no taxation without representation,” Raila said emphasizing his belief that the government was not truly representing the people’s interests.
However, speaking in Mombasa on Monday, January 30, President William Ruto accused the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party leader of resorting to demonstrations in a bid to evade paying taxes.
Ruto, who was presiding over the National Assembly’s Post-Election Seminar 2023 in collaboration with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) said those who used to exempt themselves from paying taxes using government instruments are sponsoring the demonstrations.
The Head of State stated that Kenya is not an animal farm where some animals are more equal than others.
In a direct message to his political rival Raila Odinga, president Ruto said no amount of resistance including the holding of rallies will change his stand on the directive.
“People who are used to exempting themselves from paying tax, their day is up. Every citizen must pay tax, even if they sponsor demonstrations so that they don’t pay tax,
“This country is not an animal farm where some are more equal than others. We are going to have a country where every citizen carries a fair share of our burden,” he said.
The president said he will not introduce new taxation and that what he was asking Kenyans to pay was agreed upon by the National Assembly and signed into law.
“I’m not talking about additional taxes, I’m talking about taxes that have been agreed upon by parliament and signed into law,” he added.