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Esther Passaris breaks ranks with Raila Odinga

Esther Passaris continued with her defiance against Azimio la Umoja

National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung'wah with Nairobi Woman Rep Esther Passaris during the National Prayer Breakfast event at Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi on June 7, 2023

Nairobi Woman Rep Esther Passaris has broken ranks with the opposition, and is seemingly leaning towards President William Ruto’s UDA camp.

Passaris, who was elected on an ODM ticket which is part of the Azimio la Umoja coalition, held divergent views about the proposed housing levy and whether the opposition was in bed with the previous administration.

The woman rep also proceeded to attend the National Prayer Breakfast at Safari Park Hotel presided over by President Ruto on Wednesday, June 7.

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This is despite a directive by Azimio la Umoja leadership that opposition MPs should keep off the National Prayer Breakfast in protest of the Finance Bill 2023.

We have to understand the place where the government finds itself. It's not Ruto's problem, it's our problem; we were part of the government in the last government. Opposition is not about combative stances, it's about working together to deliver and checking the government,” she said.

Passaris also criticised Azimio leader Raila Odinga’s call to boycott the prayers.

It is sad that my party leader Raila Odinga won’t be attending today’s prayer breakfast. He is always on the path of reconciliation no matter how much wrong they do to him. He wants the best for this country,” she added.

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Earlier in the week, Passaris defended Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua against reports that he would bar development in areas whose lawmakers will oppose the Finance Bill 2023.

DP Gachagua said that legislators should support the Finance Bill if they expect to receive development funds.

Passaris defended Gachagua's comments, arguing that he was simply saying that the government needs to tax Kenyans to fund infrastructure projects.

She also stated that MPs have a right of access to funds, regardless of whether they support the bill or not.

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The Raila Odinga-led Azimio is championing opposition to the proposed Finance Bill that will force Kenyans to surrender three per cent of their monthly pay to fund the affordable housing scheme.

Passaris supported the housing levy, saying it will help end slums in Nairobi.

She called on the government to seal any loopholes that rogue government officials may use to siphon money from the scheme and ensure the project is implemented fully for the benefit of the people.

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