Kenyans resort to texting their MPs in #RejectFinanceBill2024 campaign

Ezra Manyibe | 1 month ago
File image of the parliament buildings in Nairobi. |Photo| Courtesy|

The Finance Bill 2024 continues to face public backlash with more Kenyans coming out to reject the proposals.

The contentious bill proposes additional taxes which are projected to raise the cost of living. Notorious are Value Added Tax (VAT) on bread, VAT on financial services, Eco Levy, motor vehicle circulation tax, and Significant Economic Presence (SEP) tax.

Kenyans on Thursday, June 13, 2024, launched an anti-Finance Bill 2024 campaign across various social media platforms dubbed #RejectFinanceBill2024.

In their quest, Kenyans are urging members of parliament to reject punitive proposals contained in the bill, that will further strain the livelihoods of the common citizen.

To nail it home, Kenyans are circulating personal mobile phone numbers of members of parliament and sending them messages, asking them to reject the bill.

Similarly, the Finance Bill 2023 was as contentious - Kenyans have since circulated how all MPs voted in the bill. This is to remind and pressure the legislators into rejecting Finance Bill 2024.

Netizens have since shared screenshots of alleged conversations with some members of parliament on various platforms. This moves to show the country's growth in political and economic consciousness.

The move has been supported by a section of leaders most notably ODM Secretary-General and Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna, who lauded Kenyans for taking the initiative to personally direct their respective representatives on what to do.

"The civic awakening in Kenya is something to behold. I like that citizens are taking up public spaces to express themselves on key matters. Content creators, comedians, everyone is taking up space hitherto hogged by politicos like me and doing a great job at it! You are calling your MPs finally! I'm happy Wakenya wenzangu.

"Before you ask, the standing instruction to ODM party MPs is to #RejectFinanceBill2024 in total," Sifuna stated.

MPs have also come out to lament the leakage of their contact details to members of parliament. The lawmakers stated that their inboxes have been spammed by thousands of messages from Kenyans asking them to reject a section of clauses within the Finance Bill 2024.

“It is true someone must have shared our contacts right from the President down to Members of Parliament. We have been receiving messages. For the record I have received close to 3,000 messages with 50 per cent  of them being very vulgar, “ MP Silvanus Osoro the Majority Whip, stated

He revealed that while some Kenyans are sending them vulgar messages, others are utilising the opportunity to request employment or handouts.

Mumias East MP Peter Salasya conceded receiving over 5,000 messages from members of the public asking him to reject the bill. He, however, urged the public to divert the energy to Kenya Kwanza legislators who are the majority in parliament.

Majority Leader Kimani Ichungw’ah, asked Kenyans to be patient ahead of voting for the bill.

“This is not the Finance Bill. These are the revenue-raising measures statements. I know MPs have been harassed by the public on matters touching on voting. There will be no voting today," stated Ichung’wah.

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