By Alex Roberts

In the capital of Nairobi, the biggest wave of protests against the 2024 finance bill have appeared to begin to force the Kenyan government to crack under the pressure against a myriad of fresh taxes, many of which, in the best of light, seem punitive and frankly ridiculous.

The proposed new taxes and expanded have been put forth in the Finance Bill for 2024, and include such gems as:

Taxing of supplying bread.

Transporting sugar.

Liquid vaping.

Online gambling.

Gaming (how?).

So called ‘eco’ tariffs on a variety of electronics.

Most alcohols, with notable exceptions of the primary beers made by EABL.

M-PESA transactions.

Cooking oil

These taxes, as with most ‘policies’ put forth under the Ruto administration, are seemingly designed as a body-shot punch to the masses, strike them in the kidneys repeatedly until they…

What is the eventuality at the end of that statement? Starve to death? Flee Kenya? Self-immolate at the State House guard house?

Such questions were becoming increasingly unclear, and the massive taxes proposed in the midst of a self-induced cost of living crisis that is seemingly out striping some of the most severe global cost of living crises in other nations wasn’t exactly doing the Ruto administration any favors.

Now the youth have unleashed a massive clap back in the form of nationwide protests, and it seems to have worked, with several of the more egregious taxes (see, bread tax, found in dictionary on adjacent paragraph to Stalinism). Tear gassed, of course for reasons of…one shrugs, they kept on, sending out a clear message to the bloated officials taking chai behind the Parliament gates.

Put simply the message sent seems to be one of ‘Fuck around and find out’. As with most things within Kenyan politics however, there is the lingering fear in the air that it’s one step forward, two steps back; in the sense that the most atrocious and obvious proposed taxes have been cut out, but what festering policies that will have long term implications remain within that Bill, squarely placed to metastasize within the Kenyan economy.

The Ruto administration, with all of their Machiavellian machinations, surely has several such ticking time bombs placed deep within a sub passage of a sub-article, of a sub-chapter. The repercussions of such policies, like a failed marriage, won’t begin to show up until after the paperwork has been signed.

By then the damage will have been done. For now, however, wins, in the Kenyan scheme of politics, must be taken as they come. The youth prevailed and outsmarted the terminal dullards it would seem, and let’s all sincerely hope those behind the proposed Finance Bill of 2024 are just as dumb as they seem.

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