Teso Community Leaders Criticize Kenya Kwanza Government Over Punitive Finance Bill 2024

Teso Community leaders on Friday last week launched scathing attacks on the Kenya Kwanza Government over the punitive finance bill 2024. Speaking during the high profile burial of former Panpaper FC midfielder and soccer administrator Stephen Etyang Emee alias Apuwa at Aleles village Amagoro Division in Teso North Sub County, the leaders told voters to vent their anger on Members of Parliament who betrayed them by sending them home in the next general elections.

Teso North Member of Parliament Oku Kaunya said the Finance Bill 2024 contains many taxes that hurt Kenyans, thus his decision to reject it on the floor of the house. “The bill is punitive as it will subject many Kenyans to wanton taxes including bread, domestic animals, vehicles, among others which directly affect citizens,” he said.

Teso North Member of Parliament Oku Kaunya (right) with Nairobi County Assembly Majority Leader Peter Imwatok  (white T-shirt)

The MP said he was among 115 MPs who said no to the punitive Bill while 204 gave it a nod, noting that in Busia County, six MPs including himself, Raphael Wanjala (Budalang’i), Geoffrey Odanga ( Matayos), Dr Oundo Mudenyo ( Funyula), Joseph Oyula (Butula) and Geoffrey Mulanya ( Nambale) rejected the bill, adding that only Teso South MP Mary Emaase voted in favour of the Bill. Oku added: ” I rejected the bill on the grounds that it has no benefit to Kenyans. To pay taxes is not a problem, but to pay excessive taxes with no services is a major concern. Hospitals lack drugs and scarcity of doctors, while Malaba Municipality is just there by name with no funding from the county and national governments.”

The MP urged electorates to vote for leaders who are workaholics and who respect the sanctity of human life at both county and national levels. He lauded the Iteso community for their bold stand on matters politics. On proposal by Bukhayo North/Walatsi Member of the County Assembly Garddy Jakaa for Hon Kaunya to elevate himself to the position of Governor in 2027 General election, the MP said he will cross the bridge when he reaches there, urging Jakaa and Malaba South MCA Bonface Mamai to join ODM party.

Nairobi County Assembly Majority Leader Peter Imwatok ” Jateso” said he will work around the clock to ensure Teso South MP Mary Emaase is dispatched home “via Mumias Express” in the next general elections. “As the chair of ‘Maandamano’, I will not allow the Iteso community to be intimidated,” he said, urging the county leadership to embrace inclusivity considering that Busia is a cosmopolitan county.

He said ODM was a vibrant party that should not be wished away, thus the need by MCAs Jakaa (Independent) and Mamai (MDG) to join the party lest they will be thrown into oblivion. Deputy Speaker Ronald Ochalu thanked ODM MPs for saying no to the Finance Bill, noting that the legislators have proved to overtax Kenyans that they value them at this difficult moment.

Ochalu, who is also the Malaba Central MCA, said he has allocated millions to train residents from his ward for artisan courses at Amagoro Polytechnic, adding that 15 students pursuing various courses at KMTC Teso Campus will also be sponsored and those pursuing courses at Chamasiri TTI.

Hon Jakaa thanked MP Oku for saying no to the Finance Bill lamenting of skewed resources by the county government with Teso region being sidelined by the current administration.

“The Ksh500m Industrial Park and Ksh500m EPZ are located at Nasewa in Matayos. Affordable Housing Program worth 500m, a tarmacadam road worth 350m is set for Samia while the rice feeding programme will be supplied from Magombe rice scheme in Bunyala,” he said, adding that Teso North, Teso South, and Nambale are only benefitting from Emorimor offices,” he claimed.

Hon Mamai said, although Teso region has only 14 MCAs compared to 40m for the larger luhya, they will fight vehemently to ensure Teso receives resources they deserve, warning Malaba Municipality Board to be wary of people who conduct public publications without involving local leaders.

County Executive Committee Member for ICT, Digital Economy, Sustainable Development Goals, Gender Mainstreaming, and Economic Revitalisation, Douglas Okiring said the County Government is valuing the interest of county residents, noting that they have factored in the budget the Ward Economic Revitalization programme with an emphasis on development from the wards.

Those who attended the burial included Malaba Municipality Board Members Ishmael Orodi and Robert Imamai, Nambale Sub County Administrator Zipporah Amoit, ICU minister for transport and Public Works Okwara Ekirapa, and MCA aspirant in 2027 Deo Otia.

By Reuben Olita