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Ruto: Why I do not mind being referred to as Zakayo

By Mercy Simiyu February 8th, 2024 2 min read

President William Ruto has urged Kenyans to work hard and contribute to the well-being and development of the country.

Speaking to Kenyans living and working in Japan, the Head of State further lauded Kenyans based abroad for their contribution towards building the nation.

Official records indicate Kenyans based abroad send home Sh600 billion each year in remittances.

This amount exceeds other sources of foreign exchange including the sale of tea and coffee, alongside tourism receipts.

President Ruto maintained that the country would only be developed through payment of taxes, rather than aid and debt.

“If we have to develop our country, Kenyans must roll up their sleeves,” said the President.

” Japan is built by the Japanese using their taxes. Kenya will be built by Kenyans using our revenue and taxes,” he stressed.

President Ruto appreciated that his move to increase taxes had attracted criticism in most quarters. adding he did not mind being branded names by his detractors as long as he ‘is doing the right thing’.

He said: “What I will not do as president is say there will be free lunch, that the country is going to be developed by borrowing money from other people and that it is going to cost us nothing to develop our country.

That is why I don’t mind people calling me names. You see when you are doing the right thing, your concise is clear. I will do the right thing for our country irrespective of what names people call me, including Zakayo.”

Zakayo (or Zaccheaus) in English was a name given to the famous tax collector in the Bible.

Among the substantial increases in taxes for Kenyans include the introduction of the Housing Levy which ensures each salaried Kenyan pays 1.5% of his gross salary towards the construction of affordable houses for low-income residents.

Kenyans have also had to bear with an increase of 8% VAT charged for fuel alongside a new levy for Social Health. The courts recently ruled that the Housing Levy was illegal forcing President Ruto to accuse the judicial system of ‘working with his political opponents to frustrate his projects’.

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