Repeal Finance Act – clergy tell President Ruto as demos threaten to paralyse economy

Religious leaders have asked President William Ruto to repeal the Finance Act 2023, as an immediate action to stabilise the country.

In their statement on Wednesday, the leaders drawn from the Kenyan Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) and the National Council of Churches in Kenya (NCCK) urged the President to allow his administration to adopt policies and strategies that give Kenyans hope while addressing the economic challenge in the short and long terms.

“There are many families that are sleeping hungry, businesses have collapsed, jobs have been lost, and the cost of living is continuing to rise.  Without this approach, Your Excellency, we fear that the growing sense of hopelessness will push the country into instability and possibly violence.”

“As an immediate mitigation measure, Your Excellency, we recommend that the Finance Act 2023 is repealed so as to review the heavy taxation burden imposed on Kenyans. In addition, we urge a cessation of domestic borrowing by the government so as to enable banks to loan private businesses that drive the local economy,” the leaders said.

The Finance Act 2023, taxes, and the high cost of living have been major issues of contention in Kenya and a cause of the recent countrywide protests by the opposition led by Raila Odinga.

Currently, the Act stands suspended after a ruling by the High Court on Monday. Chief Justice Martha Koome is expected to set up a bench of judges to hear the case that seeks to stop the implementation of the Act.

On Wednesday, Azimio supporters took to the street, fighting bonfires, and pelting stones as they protested the high cost of living.

The NCCK has urged Odinga to spearhead an issue-based and solution-oriented approach to prevent the nation from sliding into chaos.

“We recognize the critical constitutional role that the opposition plays in safeguarding democracy and justice in our nation. We, therefore, appeal to you, Rt Honorable Raila, to recognize the key position you hold and the contribution you make in shaping the current and future of our nation,” the Council said.

The church also appealed to Kenyans to stay calm, avoid protests during trying moments, and remember the prayer of the Nation through the national anthem.

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