President William Ruto on Wednesday announced the withdrawal of the contentious Finance Bill 2024, a day after violent protests that saw Parliament invaded by those who took part in demonstrations.

In doing so, the head of state said he was acting in the best interests of the ordinary citizens given the opposition that greeted the new tax proposals.

“I run a government, but I also lead people and the people have spoken,” the President said in his address to the nation

To move the conversation forward, the President proposed that within the next 14 days, a multi-sectoral, multi-stakeholder engagement be held.

“It is necessary for us as a nation going forward to have a conversation, how do we manage the affairs of the country, together? How do we manage our debt situation together, and how do we work on the budget with the deficit that now exists together?” he said

He said the conversation among Kenyans should happen with a view to charting the way forward on matters relating to the content of the bill as well as auxiliary issues raised in recent days on the need for austerity measures and strengthening the fight against corruption.

At the height of Tuesday’s protests, a number of leaders and organizations asked the president to suspend the bill and seek to engage Kenyans who have openly expressed their grievance against the tax legislation.

In his appeal to the head of state, Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga said Ruto needed to give greater attention to concerns raised by Kenyans and asked him to initiate talks over the state of the nation.

“The starting point to ending this impasse and cruel bloodletting is for the government to immediately and unconditionally withdraw the Finance Bill and make way for a fresh start and dialogue,” he said

The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops also weighed in. While asking the President to suspend the Bill, they said issues raised by Kenyans were genuine and ought to be discussed widely.

“We plead with the president that he listen to the voices of so many and respond concretely with the current situation triggered by the Finance Bill,” the Catholics Bishops said in a press conference

“The country is bleeding and we invite the government to reflect on this matter with the seriousness it deserves,” they added

In his address to the nation, the head of state said he appreciated the situation the country finds itself in. He said the engagement will provide a platform for all and sundry to deliberate the tax concerns as well as other issues deemed pertinent by Kenyans.

“Accordingly, as I committed on Sunday, I propose an engagement with young people of our nation to listen to their issues and agree with them on their priority areas of concern,” he said

Soon after his address, the President went into a meeting with religious leaders drawn from the National Council of Churches of Kenya, Kenya Coalition of Church and Ministries, and Evangelical Alliance of Kenya who delivered a petition in light of recent happenings.

source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *