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Kenya’s Finance Bill sparks nationwide outcry

A picture of President William Ruto signing a bill into law used for illustrative purpose. PHOTO/COURTESY

A picture of President William Ruto signing a bill into law used for illustrative purpose. PHOTO/COURTESY

As the Finance Bill 2024 pivotal moment approached, Kenyans launched a massive campaign to pressure their legislators into rejecting the proposed tax measures.

The bill, which has been met with widespread opposition, aims to increase taxes on various goods and services, including bread, fuel, and digital content.

Kenyan social media influencer led the charge, using the hashtag #RespectMyHustle to mobilize Kenyans to call their Members of Parliament and demand they vote down the bill.

Phone numbers of various legislators were quickly shared online and netizens, flooded their phones with calls and texts.

The campaign quickly gained momentum, with more people joining the bandwagon and sharing phone numbers. Influential personalities like Wesley Kibande and Karen Ngari also contributed to the effort, urging Kenyans to “call them, text them, spam them” to make their voices heard.

Some MPs, such as Narok Senator Ledama Olekina and Starehe MP Amos Mwago, reacted to the campaign by promising to reject the bill.

Mumias East MP Peter Salaysa confirmed that Kenyans had been spamming him with phone calls, even sending small amounts of money to confirm the phone number’s authenticity.

“Who has shared my number on X. Everybody across the nation is calling my number, texting me and WhatsApping me. I can’t sleep the phone is vibrating throughout ati I reject finance bill kesho na wananitumia shilingi moja kwa mpesa to confirm if it’s me. We are not voting tomorrow!” he said on X.

The National Treasury came out to defend the proposed tax measures, citing the country’s huge debt . Treasury Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo argued that the decision to introduce new taxes was informed by the need to mobilize sufficient revenue to stabilize the country.

The outcome of the Finance Bill remains uncertain, but one thing is clear, Kenyans will not go quietly into the night. The debate continues as the #RejectfinanceBill2024 continues to gain a lot of attention and unite the many Kenyans opposing the bill.

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