• June 18, 2024
  • Last Update June 18, 2024 3:24 PM
  • Nairobi

Ruto to critics: I was not elected to be re-elected

Ruto to critics: I was not elected to be re-elected

By Peter Ochieng

President William Ruto has castigated his advisors and critics who continue to remind him about his re-election bid.

The first term Head of State, speaking during the Presidential Conversation Session at the Africa CEO Forum 2024 in Kigali, Rwanda, said he was not elected in 2022 to get re-elected in 2027.

Kenya’s constitution accords the person holding office as President two terms in office, with politicians from some quarters declaring that he may only serve one term in office, due to the stringent tax measures being imposed on Kenyans by his Kenya Kwanza regime.

However, Ruto said he is least concerned of his re-election, adding that he is focused on making the right decisions to spur economic transformation.

“I am always challenged because when I make the right decisions, people always tell me, you have to think about your re-election and I keep reminding them that I was not elected to be re-elected. I was elected to transform the country,” he said.

“When I speak in some fora, people come to me and whisper to me don’t say too much because these people might get annoyed with you and I ask myself, it’s not in my place to say what people want to hear or what is popular, it is in my position to say what is right,” he added.

“What is right is not necessarily popular and it is the conversation we are having in Kenya.”

This week, Ruto seemed to attract the wrath of Kenyans online after he defended the government’s plan to levy additional taxes on Kenyans, stating that it is part of a broader strategy to enhance the country’s revenue and reduce reliance on borrowing.

He said he intends to raise the country’s average tax rate from the current 14 percent to 16 percent by the end of this year, and a rate of between 20 and 22 percent by the end of his term in office.

“My drive is to push Kenya, possibly this year we will be at 16% from 14%. I want in my term, God willing, to leave it at between 20 and 22 %. It’s going to be difficult, I have a lot of explaining to do, people will complain but I know finally they will appreciate that the money we go to borrow from the World Bank is savings from other countries,” said the President.

“When I came into office I told everybody to tighten up your belts… I am not going to preside over a bankrupt country… I’m not going to preside over a country in debt distress. We have to cut our spending. And there is no free lunch.

“Kenyans have been socialised to believe that they pay the highest taxes but empirical data shows that as of last year, our tax as a percentage of our revenues was 14 %. Our peers in the continent are on an average of between 22 and 25 per cent which means our taxes are way below those of our peers,” he added.

He spoke during an engagement with Harvard Business School’s Class of 2025, on Africa’s trade and investment potential at State House, Nairobi on Tuesday.

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