On Monday, the High Court of Kenya delivered a resounding verdict, rejecting the government’s attempt to reinstate tax hikes that have ignited a wave of nationwide demonstrations. Instead, the court called upon esteemed justices to assume jurisdiction over the matter concerning the increases, which officials assert are imperative for debt reduction and employment generation.
As human rights groups reported, the protests on Friday turned tragic, resulting in the loss of two lives. Tensions escalated significantly due to the implementation of tax hikes, which coincided with a period of pronounced financial hardship for a significant portion of the population, grappling with soaring living expenses.
Justice Mugure Thande, in a decision that carried significant weight, rejected the government’s plea to revoke the orders. The esteemed justice recognized the gravity of the concerns raised by the petitioners who had taken legal action against the government. In acknowledging the magnitude of the issues at hand, Justice Thande deemed it necessary for a comprehensive hearing to take place, where all aspects can be thoroughly examined and evaluated.
Without delay, lawyers representing the government swiftly pursued permission to appeal the order’s removal to the Court of Appeals. Recognizing the urgency of the situation, they sought the necessary authorization to challenge the ruling and potentially overturn it in the higher court.
Thande further stated that the case would now be referred to the chief justice, who would be responsible for constituting a panel of judges specifically designated to preside over this particular matter. This panel would be entrusted with hearing the arguments and deliberating on the issues at hand fairly and impartially.
In addition to the notable increase of the fuel tax to 16%, the recently enacted law encompasses several significant provisions. One such provision introduces a housing levy of 1.5% for all employees, aiming to support housing initiatives. Furthermore, the law includes an upward adjustment of the highest personal income tax rate to 35%, signaling an effort to generate additional revenue for the government.
In response to the tax hikes and other grievances, opposition leader Raila Odinga has voiced his call for further protests scheduled for Wednesday. Odinga aims to mobilize public support and create a platform for peaceful demonstrations to express opposition to the tax increases and address various other concerns being raised by the populace.