President William Ruto has challenged Azimio leader Raila Odinga to offer alternatives to the woes bedeviling the country instead of calling for nationwide protests which he stated will push Kenya’s ailing economy deeper into the red.
Speaking during the burial of Michael Waweru, father of Nyandarua Senator John Methu in Nyandarua, the president mocked the opposition for criticising the government without offering any tangible solutions.
While delivering his remarks, Ruto stated that Raila’s threats to bring back Maandamano was an intimidation tactic meant to arm-twist the government into ceding to the opposition’s demands.
On Saturday, the opposition leader stated that mass action (Maandamano) would resume in 2024 if the government doesn’t repeal the Finance Act 2023.
A photo of leaders who attended the burial of Mzee Michael Waweru, father of Nyandarua Senator John Methu in Nyandarua County on January 2, 2024.
“Let me tell the opposition, instead of trying to bring violence, tell Kenyans the alternative that you have. We have told people to pay taxes so that we can pay debt. Don’t tell us about bringing maandamano which will bring bloodshed, and disrupt businesses, how will that help Kenyans?” Ruto posed.
“So, let’s stop all these intimidation tactics, give us viable alternative views if you have any. But this opposition does not have any plans, look at them. They are known for carrying sufurias on their heads while farmers were busy on the farms, now prices of goods are beginning to go down.”
The Head of State also explained that his administration would not relent on the issues of taxes, as it is the key to preventing the country from debt distress.
“We need to correct the mistakes made by our predecessors. Our main problem is not taxes, it is debt. People do not want to be told the truth. This has caused so many nations to default and not know how to get themselves from such messes,” he stated.
“I cannot allow our country to go that route whereby Kenya will get a bad name. I want to tell our citizens that unless we control our appetite for borrowing, we will be slaves to those who lend to us.”
Ruto referenced former president Mwai Kibaki’s clarion call during his tenure where he called on Kenyans to pay their fair share of taxes to allow the country to become self-reliant.
“There is no single nation that has been destroyed by taxes. Many nations have been built by their taxes, that is where we need to go, that is the truth,” he noted.
“Kibaki told us to pay taxes is to be self-reliant. He pushed for VAT and increased taxes almost four times. Along the way, we deviated from that route and went to borrow loans.”
Raila Odinga addressing Azimio leaders on May 16, 2023