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Kenyans flock Ruto & MPs' DMs to oppose the Finance Bill 2024

One of the MPs says he woke up to over 5,000 calls from Kenyans

MP Kimani Ichung'wa with President William Ruto
  • Kenyans are using social media to share MPs' contact details and urge rejection of Finance Bill 2024
  • Citizens are leveraging social media to hold elected officials accountable and rally against harmful policies
  • The bill includes contentious provisions that would raise taxes on essential goods and services, sparking widespread opposition

In a remarkable display of civic activism, Kenyans have taken to social media to share the phone numbers of their Members of Parliament (MPs), urging fellow citizens to call and demand the rejection of the controversial Finance Bill 2024.

This grassroots campaign reflects the growing frustration and mobilisation of Kenyans against what many see as regressive and burdensome tax proposals.

This campaign highlights how technology and social media have transformed civic engagement and lobbying efforts in Kenya.

"I'm waking up to numerous messages from concerned Kenyans asking me to reject the Finance Bill 2024. I want to clarify that I have opposed this scam disguised as a finance bill from day one.

"It poses a dangerous threat to the livelihood of the common mwananchi," said Fatuma Zainab Mohammed the Migori Woman Rep.

Citizens are now leveraging these platforms to hold their elected officials accountable and to rally collective action against policies they deem harmful.

The sharing of MPs' contact details online is a testament to the innovative ways in which Kenyans are participating in the democratic process and advocating for their rights.

Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna said that the civic awakening in Kenya is something to behold.

"I like that citizens are taking up public spaces to express themselves on key matters. Content creators, comedians, everyone is taking up space hitherto hogged by politicos like me and doing a great job at it!

"You are calling your MPs finally! I'm happy wakenya wenzangu. And before you ask, the standing instruction to ODM Party MPs is to Reject Finance Bill 2024 in toto," he state.

Some Kenyans have also posted their conversations with their elected leaders. Some MPs remain adamant that they will pass the Finance Bill 2024, some have expressed opposition to the proposals while others have asked their constituents for more time to scrutinize the document when it is tabled in the house next week.

“There are almost 5,000 numbers here calling me. And some are Kenya Kwanza supporters calling me after they voted for President William Ruto. Why disturb me when I am an Azimio member?” Mumias East MP Peter Salasya posed.

As the debate over the Finance Bill 2024 continues, it is clear that the voices of ordinary Kenyans are becoming increasingly influential in shaping the country's policy landscape.

This movement underscores the power of collective action and the critical role of technology in modern advocacy efforts.

The Finance Bill 2024 has sparked widespread opposition from various sectors, including political leaders, business communities, and ordinary citizens.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has been vocal in his criticism, describing the bill as a "regressive taxation proposal" that disproportionately targets the poor and low-income earners.

He emphasised that the bill, if passed, would exacerbate the already dire economic conditions for many Kenyans, burdening them with higher taxes on essential goods and services such as food, cooking oil, and financial transactions​.

The bill includes several contentious provisions, such as an increase in excise duty on financial services from 15% to 20%, which will raise the cost of bank transfers and mobile money transactions, affecting the middle class and hindering financial inclusion.

Additionally, the proposed motor vehicle tax and VAT on basic items like bread have been criticised for their potential to raise living costs significantly​.

In response to the bill, leaders from the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition have called on their MPs to reject the bill and have threatened to organize nationwide mass protests if their demands are not met.

They argue that the bill lacks transparency, equity, and public consultation, and that it places an undue financial burden on the most vulnerable populations​​.

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