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ODM fines Esther Passaris 250k for voting for Finance Act

The move by Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris to close ranks with the government and vote for the Finance Act at the National Assembly has set her back by Sh250,000 in fines.

The punishment was meted on Ms Passaris by her party, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) in a meeting held on September 6, 2023 in Nairobi.

ODM’s National Executive Committee ordered Passaris to pay the fine within 60 days.

She had been found guilty of ‘defying’ the party during the debate on the Finance Bill 2023.

And that’s not all.

Passaris has been ordered to write an apology letter to the opposition party within 7 days for ‘going against the party’s stand on the bill’.

During the debate, Passaris said she would vote for the bill since it had plans to uplift Nairobi residents who are living in slums.

“I have a dream of a Kenya where the image of slums remains in our history books and not in our motherland…for the millions of Kenyans living in the over 1,400 slums, I voted YES on the housing levy,” Passaris said while voting for the bill.

The Finance Bill which was overwhelmingly passed by the National Assembly among other imposed a 1.5% housing tax on all salaried Kenyans.

The proceeds from this tax will be channeled towards building affordable houses for Kenyans, considered President William Ruto’s pet project.

The Housing tax, alongside the move to double Value Added Tax (VAT) on petroleum products from between 8% to 16% was received with crticism from several stakeholders and the public.

In the scheme of things, Passaris fine appears a light punishment as Langata lawmaker Felix Odiwuor, popularly known as Jalang’o, and five members of Parliament were expelled from the party for ‘defying party position and gross misconduct’.

Others expelled according to a NEC resolution are Elisha Odhiambo (Gem), Sen. Tom Ojienda (Kisumu), Hon. Gideon Ochanda (Bondo), and Caroli Omondi (Suba South).

The decision is hardly surprising considering most of these lawmakers appeared to have switched their loyalty from ODM leader Raila Odinga to President William Ruto.

In recent times, the lawmakers have been spotted at State House, Nairobi, and accompanying the Head of State to launch development projects in their consticuencies or in the lakeside region, considered Mr Odinga’s home turf.

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