By Justus Atuti
The recent roadside utterance of Uhuru Kenyatta on the thorny issue of car importation in our country sparks up a debate on the one sided debate on how low and middle class KENYANS have been treated all along with hush, worthless and unnecessary laws. That is why I have been forced to make my input.
Foremost. How many Kenyans can afford an 8 year old car? An 8 year old car is an equivalent of a new car. Not only is such a car expensive in the world market, it’s taxation too remains extremely high by the KRA. Why can’t I import my 10 or 12 year old car, if this is not greed at its best? How many cars are on the world roads that are over 15 years old and are still looking good? Why does this issue seem to be a Kenyan issue, affecting only Kenya and not other African nations? Isn’t this a deliberate move to bar other KENYANS of the low class from buying a car their pockets can afford? The truth is this is a selfish law from some greedy businessmen who feel that their business will be threatened should KENYANS be allowed to import affordable cars with relaxed importation and taxation laws.
What is wrong if I chose to import a left hand car, the car that Kenyatta thinks is driving from the wrong side? Why will I sell my first class left hand Jeep of a better quality at a throw away price, only to go to Dubai to buy an 8 year old right hand reconditioned Nissan car made from fibre, if this is not an abuse of the laws of nature? It so happens that most cars of left hand come from the United States where quality is number one. Why will I keep my 14 year old Merc in my garage since I have other cars, instead of sending it home freely without the many unnecessary laws, so it can help someone or some project that can create employment for one or two youths? Have we ever had an accident in Kenya just because someone was driving a left hand drive car? What is wrong with a left hand drive car, if this is not hypocrisy at its best?
So, what is Mr Kenyatta trying to tell the diaspora? Does Kenyatta think the diaspora is a cheap lot that he can easily lie to and walk freely? Who cares about taxation, that’s not only illegal, but unreasonably high?
What we need is not to be exempted from payment of tax, because we also need to pay tax to build our nation. We need to pay reasonable taxes, reasonable, fair and affordable to everyone, a fair taxation regime. KENYANS are overtaxed left and right.
What we need is to be given freedom to import a car of our choice, left hand or right hand, without undue restrictions which are merely selfish and self seeking. What we need is a relaxed system where any Kenyan can import a car of any age without unnecessary greedy laws that favor a certain class in the society, reasons why most KENYANS can’t afford cars, even though they are supposed to. Politicians don’t pay taxes, though they make millions a month from Kenyans who barely make a living and yet faithfully pay their taxes. As the diaspora, we need to pay taxes, just like every Kenyan. Do not include us in the group of greedy politicians and businessmen who evade taxes.
Above everything else, Mr Kenyatta, fight tribalism in our land that you champion. Fight corruption on your doorstep that has been an impediment to development. Give our people security, the security that they need so badly so they can freely go out to do their day to day activities, the security apparatus that you have completely and blindly tribalized. Your recent visit to the US was worthless if you could not allow KENYANS living here the time to ask you questions and address their concerns in your style of leadership.
Mr Kenyatta, the diaspora is not a cheap lot to be lied to through cheap worthless incentives which remain irrelevant. If I can’t export my left hand Jeep or the Merc in my garage that’s 14 years old, then you are just seeking useless, worthless, cheap publicity. If you want me to evade tax, you are conning my way and denying my country the necessary revenue. That is a cheap way of publicity.
MR UHURU KENYATTA, WITH THE DIASPORA, TRY SOMETHING ELSE!