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Azimio leader Raila Amollo Odinga on Tuesday chaired a summit of partners that was, yet again, skipped by NARC-Kenya party leader Martha Karua.

Among the resolutions reached in the summit was a continuation of criticizing the Kenya Kwanza administration over punitive taxes.

Below is the full statement of the Azimio summit.

“STATEMENT ON MEETING OF AZIMIO SUMMIT; MARCH 5, 2024.

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We have had a meeting of the Summit, which is Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party’s top decision making organ.

The purpose of the meeting was to:

1. Take a bird’s eye view of the nation with regard to issues we have been outspoken on; namely the high cost of living, inclusivity in appointments to public service, the taxation regime and the general health of the economy.
2. Get a briefing on the status and progress of the NADCO Report.
3. Get a briefing on the progress and status of Azimio leader Rt. Hon Raila Odinga’s bid for the chairmanship of the African Union Commission.

On the state of the economy, the Summit maintains the view that the tax burden being borne by Kenyans is unreasonable and unsustainable. The Kenya Kwanza regime is failing the test of being caring and compassionate. Paying taxes should never be a punishment but a patriotic duty. Under the Kenya Kwanza regime, taxation is a punishment that is hurting the entire economy.

We remain opposed to the 16 per cent tax on petroleum products.

We remain opposed to the housing tax and its colonial undertones that make it look like the infamous hut tax of the colonial era.

We are deeply opposed to high PAYE rates that Kenyan workers are being forced to endure.
We remain opposed to the subjection of retiree pensions to taxation.

We also remain opposed, deeply, to the idea of subjecting farm produce to taxation. It is our position that forcing farmers to part with Ksh5 for every Sh100 they make from their farm produce is unreasonable and cruel. We encourage our farmers to resist this tax.

On NADCO, we have been adequately briefed on the progress, including a number of Bills, 9, to be exact, that have been lined up for the implementation of the report.

We express gratitude to Parliament for the adoption of the report that was a product of bipartisan consensus and wide public participation.

We retain the view that the report must be implemented as is. It is also our position that the processing of the NADCO report and the bills should be fast tracked.

Regrettably, we have also been informed of forces in Kenya Kwanza, in and outside parliament, who are determined to undermine the report.

We notify those forces that should any efforts to undermine or tamper with the report succeed, there will be a very heavy price to pay.

In this regard, we call on Hon. William Ruto to rein in the Speakers of the two houses of Parliament and a number of members of the National Executive who are hell-bent to derail NADCO.

Those leaders have clearly demonstrated a determination to delay, derail or even kill the NADCO report, which is a negotiated document that pulled the country out of hostilities to the peace that obtains today. Nobody should take the present situation as a given or for granted.

We also expressed support to the principle of Two-Third gender rule and its inclusion as part of the NADCO report.

On the issue of Rt. Hon. Odinga’s bid for AUC chairmanship, the Summit reiterated our earlier stand as a coalition to support, in every way we can, to ensure Mr. Odinga takes the seat. It is our position as a coalition that it is in the best interest of the country and the East African Community that Rt. Hon Odinga takes the seat. To this end, we very much appreciate the support of our neighbours and those from across the continent have extended to Rt. Hon. Odinga.

We are also encouraged by the personal efforts by the Party Leader to win the seat without relying entirely on the endorsement by the state and we all committed to reach out to friends and fellow leaders out there in support of our leader’s bid.

The meeting also strongly welcomed the efforts of our country Kenya to back Hon. Odinga. We agree this is not a partisan political issue but a matter of national pride and image. We are united on this.

As a coalition, we have committed to stay united and stay the course of holding the Kenya Kwanza regime to account and to fight for the rights and dignity of the people of Kenya.

In that regard, as we support Mr. Odinga for the AU, we will also support the right of Kenyans to affordable living, lower taxes and a functional economy that guarantees decent livelihoods.”

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