Articles

WIDE SCOPE SOLUTION-BASED LEADERSHIP

By Caroline Boyani Oyaro

Leadership was once about service, but now it seems focused on how much others can serve those in power. A tree-planting holiday in memory of flash flood victims exemplifies misplaced priorities. While a nice gesture, it does little for affected families needing food and shelter.

Our elected representatives, tasked with addressing grievances, seem asleep at the wheel. Instead of crafting effective solutions for economic crises, natural disasters, and civil servant compensation, they churn out daily taxation proposals. Kuria Kimani, a Member of Parliament, May 16th during a Citizen TV interview, justified the proposed tax on bread by citing concerns over diabetes. This misplaced focus on peripheral issues does little to solve Kenyan’s problems.

“It’s just the other day a housing levy was deducted from my salary,” Andrew, a resident of Mukuru kwa Reuben informal settlement, expressed his distress. “Today, I’m displaced with a notice of less than 48 hours and nowhere to go. Bread and other basic commodities should be zero-taxed,” he opined.

Our leaders live extravagant lives, driving expensive cars and taking unnecessary trips funded by taxpayers’ hard-earned money. “How can they increase taxes instead of cutting their own expenditures? As a taxpayer, I’m very disappointed in the leadership of this country,” Angela, a concerned citizen, said.

Revenue collection is crucial for a functioning nation, but excessive taxation hurts citizens and damages their mental health and morale. “Developed countries add value to their products to generate profit that runs their countries,” a concerned citizen pointed out. “We, on the other hand, export at a loss and import heavily while being burdened by high taxes.”

A community that prioritizes solutions is more likely to succeed. While taxation can address economic issues in the long term, it can be disastrous, especially for low-wage earners. Solutions like improved technology and exporting finished products instead of raw materials can create revenue and employment for our people. This, in turn, can reduce dependency on developed countries.

While our leaders readily vote for tax hikes, a humble plea is needed: consider everyone, especially those struggling to afford basic needs. Taxing an elderly manual labourer for a house they may never live in makes no sense. If they become sick and lack access to treatment due to doctor strikes or medication shortages, what use is a housing levy?

Treating gangrene with a band-aid is futile; antibiotics and medical care are necessary. By increasing disposable income for workers and improving the quality of goods and services offered, we might finally see a positive outcome.

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