You got it Wrong Mr. Governor
Its been 1 year since the last Election and the coming into office the Governors, to manage our county governments. The pace at which development has been happening is worrying compared to the pace at which public funds are being squandered depending on case to case basis of each county. The County Finance Bills that have been subject of discussion in the recent past have caused alot of uproar in the local media as well as on the social media sphere. The people of Kenya are only realizing that the people they voted for as Governors are more interested in their money and not delivering the services they promised during the elections campaigns. Now the same people who were so hopeful that Devolution would transform their lives positively are realizing that the Taxes being imposed are going to hurt them rather than build them and anyone who does not tore the tax line will be punished.
Ridiculous Taxes Introduced
Kiambu County was the first in the news when they introduced a Tax for the dead. Then came Kakamega County on Taxing Chicken and poor traders who cannot afford the annual levies being imposed. A man was shot dead after Hawkers, boda boda operators and small kiosk owners protested against the Meru county government’s move to demolish their kiosks and introduce new tax levies. With donor money in HIV/AIDS Programs in the country,Busia governor will take Sh500 from anyone who wants to access the service, seen as an expensive way to know your HIV status.
More than 400 angry motorcycle operators blocked the busy Mombasa road to protest the new taxes in Machakos County. Each cyclist is expected to pay an operation fee of Sh1,200 fee annually. Additionally, every cyclist is expected to pay Sh400. Defaulters are arrested and forced to pay a fine of Sh5,000. The Machakos Finance Act 2013 led to widespread protests.
While in Mombasa, alot of push and pull has been happening over plans by the Mombasa County Government to slap more taxes on the already overburdened hotels and resorts at the coast. Reeling from low occupancies as a result of poor perception as much as real incidents in the past, coastal resorts are up in arms over plans by the county government to tax them.
Picture: Source: http://nairobiwire.com/2014/03/incredible-photos-thika-superhighway-morning-matatu-strike.html
In Nairobi County: The County Finance Bill increased charges in nearly all service areas by margins of up to 100 per cent. Motorists will pay more parking fees more than double. Property owners will pay land rates at the rate of 34 per cent or double the current rate of 17 per cent.
Matatu- Public Transport Vehicles Parking Fees: This morning Nairobi woke up to a shocking strike by public service vehicles. In what I could describe as one of the most effective strikes in the history of Nairobi, coming at the first anniversary of the current government, members of the public could not find vehicles to go to work and alot of people had to walk for long kilometers to work. This is industrial actions that will begin to see leaders think again on their actions. While Traders took to the streets of Kakamega Town to protest on the high levies being imposed.
Kenyans are overburdened by the taxes. The cost of living continues to rise but the standards of living still deteriorating.
Corruption and High Spending by Governors
After their swearing in, the County Governors have been seen purchasing fuel guzzlers with uncountable chase cars. Each county has been striving to buy big cars for their Executive members. This has been much of a corruption than service delivery.
The Governors have not concentrated on closing the floodgates on illicit financial flows in their counties. This has remained unchecked as they try to introduce more means to tax the poor people. It is commonly said that you can never tax yourself to wealth. That is why Governors need to rethink on the strategies on how county governments will make more revenue from other sources other than Taxes. There is need for innovation a fact that many of the Governors.
Warning to the Governors
Dear Governors, The people of Kenya elected you on the ability of your transformation agenda and not on the ability for you to burden them more. The more you push for the agenda on burdening Kenyans, the more they will hate you. In the next coming days, it will become easier to use the constitution to throw you out of office. My advice is for you to think through strategies that will transform Kenyans and not taxing them to their graves. Think on innovative ways on how the counties are going to generate revenue. There are hundreds of thousands of ideas only if you involved the public in finding those ideas and projects.
Oh by the way, all these debates on Taxes and your larger than life lifestyles are the same agenda that will be used to either vote you back into office or permanently get engraved in the most brutal enemies of the Kenyan people. We need Governors for the people by the people. Stop your spending on unimportant things and focus on delivery of services.