Busia senator and Human Rights activist Okiya Omtatah vowed to challenge The Finance Bill 2023 in court.
Speaking in the senate, Omtatah reinstated that the Finance Bill contained issues that threaten to destroy the industrial base and well-being of the nation.
“Commenting about the finance bill here is like I’m an American wrestler wrestling outside the ring. For as long as the finance bill will not come here, the only arena I can engage the finance bill in is outside this house.” Omtatah said.
He added; “This is a war on the Republic of Kenya, it’s a fight for the soul of this country and we are not going to shy from it. We don’t have another country, we all have this country.”
The humanitarian mouthpiece, later on, moved to the High Court in a bid to challenge the provision of the Finance Bill 2023 as he had previously reassured netizens. Okiya Omtatah argued that the Bill was unconstitutional and thus asked the court to intervene.
Among the issues, Omtatah highlighted in his petition were the mandatory salary deductions to support President William Ruto’s Affordable Housing agenda, which he argued violated the rights of Kenyans.
“Section 76 of the Bill threatens socio-economic rights (Article 43) to the extent that, if made law, the fund will require a 3 percent reduction in basic salary for employees and a 3 percent contribution from employers, thereby reducing worker’s purchasing power as it increases business operating costs,” Omtatah told the court.
“Section 76 of the Bill threatens the freedom to own property (Article 40(1)) by proposing to compel civil servants to participate in a mandatory tax scheme disguised as a means to facilitate property acquisition.” The Busia Senator added.
The Senate and the National Assembly should have debated the Finance Bill, Sen Okiya Omtatah says
Omtatah pointed out that the Senate and the National Assembly should have debated the Bill before being tabled.
The Busia lawmaker also expressed worry that the National Assembly would pass the Bill without involving the Senate, allowing Ruto to ascend into law. He thus sued Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u and Attorney General Justin Muturi, who he argued were advisers to the government.
“The Treasury has been sued herein for having violated Articles 3(1) and 153(2)(a) of the Constitution by presenting to the National Assembly the Finance Bill 2023 parts of which threaten to violate express provisions of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and the principles of natural justice, and to undermine Kenya’s economic organization.” Omtatah’s petition read in part.
Omtatah’s petition came days after President William Ruto pleaded with him against challenging the Finance Bill 2023 in court. During a church service in Busia, on Sunday, May 28, Ruto argued that the Affordable Housing program aimed to empower Kenyans.
Either, the Human Rights activist issued a stern warning to the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) against defying court orders against the Finance Act 2023.
Okiya Omtatah’s sentiments came a couple of hours after EPRA increased fuel prices with Petrol retailing at 13.49, Diesel at Sh12.39, and Kerosene at Sh11.96 in Nairobi despite the High Court having stopped implementation of the Finance Bill 2023.
He vowed to go after any individual, body, or institution that tends to go against court orders.
“The second order, the court says thou shall not do anything about that bill to impose it on Kenyans. That will be an order EPRA needs to take seriously because if they don’t we shall be after them.” Omtatah said.
He said the Authority is very much aware of the issued order and they should not act contrary against it.
“They have ample knowledge that the court has issued orders, it’s in the media and all over. It will not have any defense against that order. So I hope that EPRA will obey that order.” Omtatah remarked.
The Second application to stop the implementation of the Finance Act was filed by Peter Agoro, who argued that the Finance Bill 2023 was founded on illegality and thereby infringes and violates the Constitution.