A veiled warning by President William Ruto to antagonists of the Finance Bill has now put the lawmakers in a tight spot.
With the bill set to be introduced in Parliament this week, the MPs from both political camps are torn between toeing the line and playing to the gallery.
So delicate is the balancing for the lawmakers that the interests of the electorates are competing with their self gains.
With the focus shifting to Parliament, it remains to be seen how the MPs will vote even as Kenyans mount an aggressive campaign against the Bill they have termed as oppressive due to excessive taxation.
While speaking in Narok on Sunday, Ruto continued to drum up support for the Bill putting on notice the legislators who will vote against it.
“I am waiting to see the MPs who will go against the government’s plan to give their voters employment. We want to see and know those going against this Finance Bill,” Ruto said.
Ruto has been traversing various regions including those controlled by his political opponents dolling out goodies while appealing to the leaders from those areas to support him to reap benefits from his administration.
“Our focus remains on service delivery to all Kenyans irrespective of how they voted during the last General Election,” the head of state said in Narok.
The MPs are set to resume their normal sittings today after a month-long recess.
The Bill, which Ruto and his allies have spiritedly backed is top on the agenda and the focus will be on how the MPs will vote.
As per the Parliamentary standing orders, voting is either by roll call or secret ballot.
Ruto is rooting for the public vote just as his Azimio leader counterparts.
“I have heard some people saying they are waiting to see MPs who will vote for the Bill to pass, but I am equally waiting to see the members of Parliament who will vote against the Finance Bill that seeks to ensure employment of young people, introduce 5 percent housing mortgage. We are waiting to see them oppose a plan that empowers the youths who voted them to Parliament,” the president said.
Azimio principal Kalonzo Musyoka said lawmakers from the camp will push for an open ballot system so as to “show Kenyans the members of parliament who are out to push them into poverty”.
“We will push for an open voting method for the Finance Bill and we shall count them one by one,” Kalonzo said.
Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei dared the Kenya Kwanza MPs to reject the bill saying those who fail to toe the line must face disciplinary action for going against the ruling party and the head of state.
“Any Kenya Kwanza MP who shall vote against the Finance bill 2023 should face the full force of party disciplinary mechanisms,” he said.
“You cannot play opposition politics in government. Party Position is supreme in any discipline democracy”.
Githunguri MP Gathoni Wamuchomba is the only Kenya Kwanza member who has publicly come out and declared his stand on the Bill accusing a section of leaders of endorsing it blindly.
Reacting to a tweet by lawyer Miguna Miguna, the MP said, “Dr Miguna you are percent absolutely right. A true mirror of the actual. Ground imechemka! Please tag Honourable sycophants whose brains seem to have migrated to the house on the hill”.
Miguna asked President Ruto to listen to Kenyans who have fiercely opposed the proposal.
“Pull back. Listen to Kenyans. Withdraw the Finance Bill 2023. Postpone the implementation of the Housing Levy. Return to the Drawing Board,” he said.
Wamuchomba went on to warn his supporters that if the bill was passed, they would suffer more.
“I want to hear your opinion. Don’t say it to make me happy because it is you who will feel the pinch. Are we headed in the right way?” she posed.