July 24, 2024

Lamu Youths Protest Against Controversial Finance Bill 2024

Youths in Lamu county take to the streets protesting against the Finance Bill 2024 (Photo by Fumo)

By Fumo Mzalendo

Email, thecoastnewspaper@gmail.com

Lamu County youths have expressed disappointment over their MPs’ decisions to support the disputed Finance Bill 2024.

Mohamed Skanda, speaking during a protest march in Lamu Island today (June 24, 2024), said the legislators’ decision to vote Yes on Thursday last week in Parliament was an indication they had lost touch with the residents’ plight socially and economically.

The Muslim for Human Rights coordinator added that the MPs had failed in their mandate to address the interests of their constituents saying the Bill was increasing prices of essential commodities like bread, fuel, sanitary towels and diapers.

Lawmakers Stanley Muthama (Lamu West), Ruweida Obbo MP (Lamu East) and Monica Marubu (County MP) voted YES Ruweida Obo, Lamu Women Representative Monica Marubu were among the 204 legislators who voted for the second reading of the Finance Bill 2024.

But according to Juja MP George Koimburi the lawmakers were offered Ksh2 million in exchange for voting the Bill to the third reading and subsequent passing into law tomorrow (Tuesday, June 25, 2024).

“Our legislators were compromised to vote against the will of Lamu residents despite the obvious hardships that they know we have to contend with every day,” said Lamu Women Alliance official Farida Farrah.

She expressed concern the gains made in zero rating the sanitary pads were likely to be list leading to more girls dropping out of school due to “period poverty”.

Echoing the same sentiments, her counterpart Nadia Kassim told off women legislators for failing Lamu women with their personal greed in the Finance Bill dispute.

Faza Action Group coordinator Jaffar Masoud stated that a vote against the Finance Bill 2024 was a sign that citizens were calling for more accountability and transparency of public resources.

According to him the amendments made to the Bill was just superficial to hoodwink Kenyans with dangerous clauses hidden within the voluminous document.

“There needs to be an overhaul of the current leadership in 2027 which has failed in its mandate to express the voice of Lamu people who have no desire for any further taxation,” said former Mkomani Ward MCA Yahya Ahmed Shee.

Speaking on the sidelines of the protest rally, a grocery vendor Everlyn Mghanga expressed her fears that the bill would impact negatively on cost of doing business.

“There are high chances of increasing fuel products if the proposals in the Bill are allowed to sail through the third reading.”

In her view, businesses are struggling to keep up with the ever-increasing tax demands that are making commodities and services beyond the means of ordinary suffering from taxes and levies fatigue.

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