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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Nyeri debate: 48 Taxation regimes

Hey folks. I was reading the proposed law and discussing it with a group of journalists. Of course, that can only happen in a moderated training. That happened last week in Nyeri.
I say of course, because, anytime journalists touch the proposed law, it usually is about what story will come out of it.
And the moderator was one Caleb Atemi, a media consultant, a former editor and a trainer of no mean repute.
Professor (Opondo) was there but he chose to leave the journalists to debate. So it is in that spirit that I rekindle the debate that I think has smoldered under the emotive Kadhi’s court’, Land and abortion issues.
So, Caleb jolted the thinking in the room when he said that the proposed Constitution will throw into the works 48 taxation regimes.
One journalist, who had a copy of the proposed Constitution said, that was impossible “because, there is nowhere in this document where that is said.”
Well, I wondered allowed. Which kind of document was this guy reading. Quickly, I pointed my pal to the document’s Fourth Schedule as a quick guide of the powers of the county government.
Then, I asked him to read that together with the second part of the Devolution chapter. He did but insisted that he wanted to see the word “counties impose taxes” and asked me to stop interpreting the document.
I told him, look, I have read this thing inside out. So, I hoped he could go to the Chapter on Public Finance –let me look for the clause –yes, I found it, it is article 209(3-5). See, it’s not about the citizen’s welfare; it’s about the economy (I refuse to add ‘stupid!’).
And still, laws are required to stipulate the kind of taxation. I feel vindicated. Just for the record.
So, another thing. Who was that telling me that “we can’t have a perfect document?” Well, we can’t have a perfect document, but that doesn’t mean we take a flawed one just because we want a constitution.
There’s this writing I saw on a key-holder at a hawker’s stall “katiba bora sio bora katiba.”
See…!

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