Senator Omtatah: Why I will challenge Finance Bill in court

    President Ruto and Senator Omtatah during an inter-denominational prayer service in Busia last weekend
    President Ruto and Senator Omtatah during an inter-denominational prayer service in Busia last weekend

    Busia County Senator Okiya Omtatah maintains he will challenge the controversial Finance Bill in court.

    He says his decision to seek legal redress emanates from the fact that he will not be accorded an opportunity to debate the bill on the floor of the Senate.

    “For the avoidance of doubt, I am heading to court, which is an arena outside this house. If the bill was coming to this house, I could have waited to comment on the bill and try and fight it in this house. But because it is not coming in this house, it will only be in the National Assembly, I am going to engage with the bill in court,” said Omtatah on the floor of the Senate Wednesday.

    According to him, his court battles against the bill will commence immediately after the Madaraka Day celebrations slated for this Thursday.

    “After Jamhuri (Madaraka), it is a new ball game. We will be engaging totally with that bill on the issues that threaten to destroy the industrial base of this country and return us to the caves the way the war on Iraq has returned Iraq to the caves. This is a war on the Republic of Kenya, it is a fight for the soul of this country, and we are not going to shy from it,” he insisted.

    His stance coming at a time Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwaba last weekend pleaded with him to use the platform that is parliament to raise his concerns regarding the bill.

    “Okiya, my very good friend, you know you used the court platform because it was the only platform available to you. But now the people of Busia have given you a forum, you are the Honourable Senator of the great County of Busia. You don’t need the courtroom no more. You need the floor of the Senate of the Republic of Kenya,” urged Namwamba during an inter-denominational prayer service that was held at Busia Stadium last weekend.

    It was during the prayer service that Senator Omtatah first intimated that he will challenge the bill in court saying it contained both good and bad things.

    “I have already prepared a petition to go to court. But when I heard you were coming to Busia I did not file it last week. I held on. I pray that we relook at this bill. If we can avoid fighting in court it would be good as it is bad for friends to fight,” he told President William Ruto who was in attendance.

    “You want to take me to court and all I’m doing is creating jobs for these people, don’t you want them to get jobs? Busia people, please talk to this man to go easy on the court matters,” President Ruto responded in his defence.

    The Finance Bill has raised a storm in a tea cup with the Opposition terming it punitive for imposing untold taxes on Kenyans who are already reeling under the weight of the high cost of living.

    The proposed mandatory Housing Fund has in particular been a bone of contention.