Editor’s note: Jean Claude Mwabili from Mombasa writes about what President Ruto must do to avoid backlash from Kenyans.
Kenyans have recently decried the high taxation imposed by the Kenya Kwanza regime. Prices of basic items have hiked, making life hard for a large chunk of Kenyans.
What’s more, the high taxation has some companies contemplating downsizing to cut down on operational costs.
Kenyans have been some of the most highly taxed people worldwide for quite some time now. That is to say, the Kenya Kwanza administration has just upped the ante a little bit.
But what really are Kenyans protesting about?
Most Kenyans have been shortchanged by previous governments despite dutifully paying taxes.
It is annoying when a good chunk of the collected tax ends up in a few individuals’ pockets instead of providing essential services.
It gets even bitter for the Kenyan citizens when most of the corrupt individuals go scot-free.
As things are, there are enough loopholes in the criminal justice system to allow these criminals to thrive.
Wanton corruption and impunity
What’s more, Kenya is smarting from a culture of impunity that has institutionalised and normalised corruption and the degradation of its citizens.
For example, there are claims the Uhuru Kenyatta administration oversaw the embezzlement of some $36 billion (KSh 4 trillion) of taxpayers’s money between March 2018 and August 2022.
One keeps wondering whether those responsible will ever be brought to justice.
The same script played out in the 47 county governments between 2013 and 2022, where some governors stole from the taxpayers’ coffers.
EACC is seeking to recover KSh 542,610,615 from ex-Murang’a governor Mwangi wa Iria.
The anti-graft watchdog believes the ex-county boss acquired the money during his tenure.
Many other governors are on the radar for embezzling billions of taxpayers’ money.
But this being Kenya, there are very low chances the cases will get anywhere and the culprits will face justice.
High taxation but no value
In an ideal situation, high taxation should translate to better services for those being taxed. The situation is completely different in Kenya, where billions of taxpayers’ money ends up in a few individuals’ pockets.
For instance, the infrastructure network is still lacking in a number of towns in Kenya.
In a similar vein, the services in public hospitals are poor. In fact, in Kenya, one is only an illness away from poverty.
For the past 11 years, the services in public hospitals have deteriorated under the watch of the county governments. Think about doctors working in poorly equipped hospitals who have to put up with cantankerous governors and their cronies.
Law and order
Those who voted for Kenya Kwanza expected the government to fight corruption from the bottom to the top.
Somehow Kenyans believe it would be possible, given the obvious fact that President William Ruto is far more competent and resolute than his predecessor, Uhuru Kenyatta.
But one year later, we still watch police collect bribes from Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) and transportation trucks.
Some of these vehicles go on to cause accidents that kill, among other Kenyans, schoolchildren.
Now, do the traffic police on the roads collect bribes because they enjoy doing it? The simple answer is NO.
The truth is, junior traffic officers act on the instructions of their superiors.
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However, it is easier to deal with a problem within the disciplined forces as compared to civilian organisations. How about the President inviting the regional police commanders to State House for a 10-minute meeting? And the main and only agenda is to stop collecting bribes forthwith.
President Ruto and the Kenya Kwanza regime must keep in mind that Kenyans, especially hustlers, have a lot of expectations from this government.
And while the president is keen on his vision, he must ensure that those he has appointed to key positions don’t let him down.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the position of GOTTA.news. We welcome writers to give their views on various life issues. Send your opinion to [email protected].