Aaron Cheruiyot: Ruto is heavily taxing Kenyans to pay Uhuru’s debts
Senators allied to the government and opposition have openly clashed over the state of the country’s economy and economic policies spearheaded by President William Ruto’s administration.
Speaking in Eldoret, Homa Bay County Senator Moses Kajwang said both the current economic policies and corruption activities were hurting many Kenyans who were struggling to make ends meet.
He urged the government to source for money illegally stashed abroad by Kenyans and return it home ‘for better use’.
He said: “The fiscal policies by the government are unfavorable to Kenyans. Instead of increasing taxes, let us deal with corruption and public wastage that is stealing our future and inheritance so we direct more resources to the economy.”
“If a student completes their studies and wants to be employed, and you want a TSC number, you have to part with up to Sh500,000 and we act as if this is normal. We must end corruption.”
He further said the Kenyan shilling had weakened against the US dollar in recent times owing to poor fiscal policies by the Kenya Kwanza government.
“The last time the shilling was weakened was in 2005. Last year it shilling was Sh120 and today it is trading at Sh150 against the dollar. We were told bottom up little did we know that they would up trading Kenyan shilling against US dollar.”
The lawmakers made remarks during the leadership summit at Moi University on September 21, 2023, that brought together the institution’s alumni.
He said previous governments had a clear strategy on food security, unlike the current administration which lacks a clear strategy on food security.
“Kibaki had an economic stimulus program while Uhuru banked on RTGS, I hear this one (read Ruto) gives fertilizer and prays for rain. Praying for rain cannot be a strategy,” said the senator.
Senate majority leader Aaron Cheruiyot however defended the current administration, noting the state had embarked on reforms to address the high cost of living.
He said the government had reviewed the government expenditure by Sh30o billion to ensure we ‘live within our means.’
“The big conversation in the country is that the taxes have hit the roof. The truth of the matter is that we are taxing Kenyans so that we pay debts. The CBK publishes monthly how much was spent, if you look at the month of August, out of Sh160 billion that was collected, Sh120 billion went to paying debts. We are a debt-ridden country,
“By the time we took over from Kajwang and his team, the country was Sh10 trillion poor under a handshake government. We had to balance between defaulting and paying and we defaulted. We would go the Zimbabwe way and that would be irresponsible for us.”
The Kericho county senator accused former president Uhuru Kenyatta of borrowing monies to finance projects such as the failed Building Bridging Initiative (BBI) which sought to change the country’s constitution.
“I agree we must deal with graft and when the President said ‘mambo ni matatu’ it is the same opposition leaders who made noise. I want to tell the presidency not to relent but implement extra-ordinary action,” said the UDA senator.
He said the Kenya Kwanza administration had availed affordable fertilizer that resulted in increased acreage to over 200,000 and expecting a bumper harvest.
Mr Kajwang also said the Kenyan foreign policy was ‘unpredictable’ and ‘disastrous’, noting that confusing the allies on the global stage.
“Today, we are hosting Iran, tomorrow Russia and the next day we will talk with the US. We have a personality crisis, a crisis of confidence in foreign policy,” said Kajwang.
Among the debts the Ruto administration is seeking to repay in 2024 include a 2 billion Eurobond that has matured, and the Standard Gauge Railway.