Former Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa has indicated that the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition plans to stage street protests against the controversial Finance Bill 2023. During a homecoming ceremony for Member of Parliament Raphael Wanjala on June 3, Wamalwa stated that the opposition coalition would exert pressure on the government to remove certain proposals from the bill. He expressed concern about the inclusion of a 16% value-added tax (VAT) on fuel and a 3% housing levy, which he deemed illegal and harmful to Kenyans. Wamalwa warned that if the government does not address these issues, the coalition will continue to build pressure until compliance is achieved.
Former Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya, also speaking at the event, urged all Azimio MPs to vote against the Finance Bill in the National Assembly. He emphasized that there were multiple problematic aspects in the bill, beyond the housing levy, and urged Azimio leaders in both the Senate and the National Assembly to ensure the bill does not pass. Oparanya argued that if the bill were to pass, it would result in numerous difficulties for Kenyans.
However, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua dismissed the opposition’s claims that the bill would fail, asserting that the Azimio camp lacks the necessary numbers to oppose it successfully. Gachagua questioned why the opposition would oppose something that would inevitably pass anyway due to their insufficient support.
The statements from Wamalwa and Oparanya highlight the opposition’s concerns regarding the Finance Bill 2023 and their intention to resist its implementation. On the other hand, Gachagua downplayed the opposition’s efforts, emphasizing the lack of sufficient support to block the bill. These differing perspectives set the stage for potential political clashes and debates as the bill progresses through the legislative process.