If you are in Kenya the animal will get you if you don't take precautions, you have been warned
Please be patient and I will tell you about this very real and very dangerous animal on the loose.
Life is full of deals gone bad.
Allow me to tell you a little story that involves somebody very close to me.
This man when to see his girlfriends’ parents and was promised her hand in marriage. According to him it was a done deal more so because he was talking to her father who is an old man. Old wise men always keep their word don’t they? He left a happy man and went to start making all the necessary arrangements including getting his wife out of an expensive maternity hospital in the city.
Six short months later he was told that his girlfriend was getting married to a rich Asian tycoon. His girl friend claimed that her hands were tied; she had to do what her parents wanted. “But we had a deal (MOU—memorandum of understanding),” the jilted would-be husband protested to the old man. The old man got really angry and insisted that it was his daughter and he had a right to do what he wanted with “his property.”
This true story has an interesting ending. The Asian tycoon changed his mind because of a reason that had nothing to do with love and the poor “boomerang girl” was left hanging. And because the jilted man really loved her he is back on the scene.
Sometime last year the President and Prime Minister eager to get the new constitution passed (I am certain both have their deep regrets today) made a gentleman’s agreement with the 10th parliament. The legislators were worried that under the new constitution they would be required to pay taxes. They were reassured that this would only kick in when the 11th parliament came into the scene. Indeed the whole thing was put in writing with written assurances from both the finance secretary (Minister of Finance) and the chief tax man Bwana Waweru himself. Under the new constitution even if the president wrote and sealed a letter with his personal seal it would be null and void.
And the greedy legislators relaxed knowing that all was well and they could continue with their reckless spending and careless financial arrangements and basically enjoy their last few months in the house. Only for them to get a rude awakening about to weeks ago when the taxman presented the MPs with a huge tax bill backdated to August last year.
Everybody knows that story, but the big question is what triggered the taxman to demand his pound of flesh so suddenly and despite a high-powered MOU? Was it some political motive and if so by whom?
Many Kenyans are convinced that somebody was behind it for political reasons.
After some serious research I can today reveal the fascinating reason behind the legislators tax troubles. It will disappoint the conspiracy theorists but it is the truth.
When the new constitution was passed a friend who could not understand my excitement (just like many readers here) wondered if the constitution would really make a difference with all the impunity merchants still firmly in power. After all even the old constitution was often ignored. I remember my confident reply to that which I reproduce here word for word;
“The new constitution is an animal with a life of it’s own. There are going to be many many casualties to this animal, just wait and see. What we have done today is release a train that is unstoppable… not even the president has power to undo what has been done today.”
As I write this we have in Kenya for the first time a toothless president who cannot appoint his cronies at will. This alone has changed the political dynamics dramatically. This is the problem when change happens so fast. It takes time for stuff to sink in and register.
What is happening on the ground is that various institutions, now independent from the executive for the first time in history are carefully re-examining their positions under the new constitution. Especially because there are dire consequences to ignoring the constitution. KRA is one of the institutions that did just that and the result is what you see today.
Admittedly there are a few more institutions that are still in deep slumber (like the Kenya Police) but you can be sure that the animal will get them. Even parliament is still asleep trying to flex muscles that it really doesn’t have any more. Just watch what will happen to the Tobiko appointment.
We live in exciting times folks. Long live the new constitution with one important disclaimer; the animal will get to you too, so please re-read the constitution carefully.
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