Members of Parliament belonging to the Azimio la Umoja faction caused a stir on Thursday as they staged a dramatic walkout from the chambers just moments after Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung'u commenced his presentation of the highly anticipated 2023/24 Budget.
The unexpected protest saw the lawmakers jeering at the CS and amusingly chanting songs as they convened a press conference outside.
The uproar erupted when CS Ndung'u mentioned that the budget marked the first for President William Ruto and the Kenya Kwanza administration.
Seizing the opportunity to express their dissatisfaction, the MPs swiftly exited the chambers, disrupting the proceedings momentarily before the CS continued with the budget highlights.
During their subsequent press briefing, the lawmakers clarified their stance, emphasizing their refusal to participate in the reading of a budget they believed was unfriendly to a significant portion of Kenyans.
The Raila Odinga-led faction reiterated its intention to oppose the budget in its entirety, expressing concerns about certain allocations made in Ruto's inaugural budget.
Likoni MP Mishi Mboko firmly expressed her stance regarding the budget, stating, "We cannot endorse a budget that will harm numerous Kenyans. While we understand that Rome was not built in a day, we simply cannot accept this."
MP Junet Mohamed of Suna East echoed Mboko's sentiments, saying, "Azimio does not endorse this budget. That's why we walked out. It does not prioritize the needs of the Kenyan people but rather serves the Kenya Kwanza government. Until we receive a budget that truly reflects the interests of the Kenyan people, we will not participate."
It is worth noting that while some Azimio MPs decided to make a statement by leaving the chambers, others chose to remain and observe the proceedings.
CS Ndung'u was tasked with presenting the first budget under the Kenya Kwanza administration, adhering to Kenya's annual tradition.
In his speech, he emphasized that the budget was developed in consideration of the global economic climate and President Ruto's bottom-up economic model.
"The Kenya Kwanza government has embarked on a journey to reduce the cost of living, improve livelihoods, and foster a sustainable, inclusive economic transformation," stated the CS.
While the walkout brought an unexpected twist to the budget presentation, it remains to be seen how the dissenting MPs' protest will impact the budget's implementation and subsequent debates in the Parliament. For now, the nation awaits further developments as the budget proposal continues to unfold.