Friday, June 24, 2011

WHAT A DILEMMA

MPs to pay taxes

The taxman (Kenya Revenue Authority) has cracked his whip on the “un-touchable”, according to the new constitution all remuneration should be taxed. KRA commissioner John Njiraini will start with our MPs whose benefits were not taxed and threatened to attach their assets if their employer does not remit the taxes, the tax will be backdated from September 2010. If there is anything that can unite all our MPs including the house speaker, it is any move towards their salaries. They are now crying they had planned for their salaries for the five year contract which ends 2012. That is just an excuse, lucky they are to have good paying jobs they could count on for five years, make big plans like buying fuel guzzlers, get mortgages for buying homes and enjoy a good life. This move was blocked before and termed unconstitutional by our MPs when Kenyans demanded they pay taxes. Now KRA has the new constitution to support them to recover millions of shillings uncollected.

Many Kenyans have come out to support KRA, polls by local media have shown that majority of Kenyans support this move because many Kenyans (who elected these MPS) even the lowest paid pay taxes, many cannot afford mortgage, cannot afford cars and luxury like our MPs. So now it is time for our MPs to start paying taxes like other Kenyans, Kenyans did not send you to parliament to get richer. When in Tanzania some years back, a Tanzanian commented it is shocking that Kenyan MPs are amongst the richest which is not the same case in Tanzania were their MPs are just like common citizens. If they cannot afford the taxes they should sell part of the assets they acquired from the Government salaries and pay KRA before KRA auctions them. How do they expect the 1.55 Trillion budget to be achieved, it is time for wananchi to benefit from public resources. There are very few MPs who pay taxes and some have accepted they will pay congratulations, we wait to see more patriotic MPs come out to say they will pay taxes.

Un-authorized buildings to be marked and demolished


After two multi storey buildings under construction collapsed, one of them killing and injuring people, the local Government under Dept. Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi and Town Clerk Philip Kisia have vowed to mark and demolish such un-authorized buildings. This move off-course cannot be accepted by landlords of up-coming multi storey buildings in the affected areas like Mwiki, Kayole, Umoja, Tassia, Embakasi etc…According to the council multi storey buildings with over five floors should have lifts, most don’t. The MP for Embakasi, whose area is most affected Ferdinand Waititu and the landlords, formed a human barrier to block move by City Council to mark buildings in Kayole. Waitutu is warning the Council of dire consequences if they step in his constituency. This is one MP who is known to support Mungiki (outlawed militia) and so one can imagine the kind of action he implies by his threats. The council has also complained of their efforts to block un-approved building like the recent one that killed people in Embakasi being blocked by such militia. Kayole estate has many such multi storey buildings which house many people. The population there is I believe the biggest in Nairobi and this is why Ferdinand Waititu cannot accept this. It is also a fact that Embakasi constituency is the biggest in Nairobi may be he gets more CDF funds. It is a big dilemma for the landlords are said not to have titles for the plots. However it is a fact that many innocent lives of Kenyans have been lost because of un-approved buildings and greedy landlords, so something has got to be done to stop this. Waititu should not support the few landlords some do not even live in those houses, and think of the many tenants whose lives are at risk.

The Government should come out strongly on this issue and reach a compromise with the landlords of the buildings because both sides are to blame for the collapsing buildings. Then the Government should stop all up coming buildings until they get approval from the local authority, use whatever force they can to save lives. MPs should stop politics on these efforts.

Sam Ongeri clings to his office


Even after facing major scandals in his Minister since 2009 and numerous calls by Civil Society, public, heads of schools and even his fellow MPs to step aside for investigations. The civil society even camped and locked his office yesterday. The minister seems unmoved by these calls and actions. This is very typical of most ministers in Kenya faced with sandals, is it the money or ego, when will this attitude stop. It is a shame for a minister to cling to his public office like it is a personal property. The civil society protesters were attacked by a group who smeared them with human waste off course one can tell who sent them, what a shame!! It is also a shock to Kenyans that the President and the Prime Minister are mum on this issue, why can’t they just send him packing?

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