MPs cornered to support VAT but insist they won’t
3 months ago, 19 Sep 06:37
Jubilee MPs met President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House yesterday and listened to him but left vowing to defeat his memorandum.
It was the same case at Orange House where his new bosom buddy Raila Odinga chaired a meeting of his ODM and Wiper MPs and tried to persuade them to accept Uhuru's tax proposals. They too left vowing to defy their party leader's plea.
Although about 10 MPs were given a chance to speak during the Jubilee Parliamentary Group Meeting unlike the past, the legislators felt that they were not given enough time to raise their issues and that no compromise was struck.
A statement from State House later said the legislators had agreed to support the President's proposals which include the 8 per cent VAT, a reduction of the popular CDF and the affirmative action fund patronized by the 47 women representatives.
Separately, a NASA leadership statement read by Junet Mohammed gave conditional support to the memorandum.
The State House statement acknowledged that the meeting was heated but did not give details. It asserted that the MPs unanimously agreed that there should be budgetary cuts to accommodate the reduction in VAT.
Several MPs who attended the meeting told the Star separately that about 10 of their colleagues were given a chance to speak.
"Apart from one, all those who spoke did not raise our issues. We will now make our own decisions about the proposed cuts,” said one.
At some point, the President is said to have stopped Kipipiri MP Amos Kimunya who had opposed the reduction of Parliament's budget and challenged him to say how he dealt with such issues during his time as Finance minister.
Deputy President William Ruto was reportedly more pushy, insisting that MPs, like any other Kenyans, had to accept budget cuts.
"Ruto was very firm and demanded that we adopt the memorandum," said an MP from Rift Valley.
But after the meeting, the lawmakers said they will stand with their people and defy the party’s directive when they vote tomorrow.
At Orange House, several MPs who spoke to The Star talked of a stormy two-hour meeting as MPs put a spirited fight against Raila’s appeal to them to approve the President’s proposal.
The MPs who were said to be reading from a similar script tried in vain to explain to their unmoved leader the negative implication of any VAT increment on fuels to both the economy and common man.
After listening to the MPs’ reservations, Raila is said to have pulled out of nowhere and read a written resolution supporting Uhuru’s proposals.
“We tried to explain our considered opinion to the Party Leader but we were overruled. But we are still determined to stand with our people when the matter is finally subjected to a vote on Thursday,” said one MP off the record.
“We were surprised that the resolution finally read to us finally had no resemblance to what we were discussing all along,” confided another MP.
In Parliament, adamant MPs said they will vote against the President’s memorandum claiming Kenyans support zero taxation on fuel products.
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