Raila Odinga's Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition has issued a stern statement condemning the passing of the Finance Bill, 2023, labelling it as a "contempt budget" and warning of the rise of dictatorship in Kenya.

The opposition coalition expressed concern over what they termed the disregard for the wishes and well-being of the Kenyan people, emphasizing the need for immediate action to be taken to counter the "detrimental" effects of the 2023-2024 budget.

In a statement, Azimio criticized the actions of President William Ruto and his Kenya Kwanza administration, condemning his decision to retain "burdensome taxes" on various essential commodities, such as fuel, housing, turnover, mobile money transfers, and salaries.

The coalition termed the move a demonstration of contempt towards Kenyans  who have expressed their opposition to these taxes in numerous polls.

Raila's Azimio warned that the Kenyan people's pleas and protests were blatantly ignored hence setting a concerning precedent for the nation.

"We saw what happens when a rogue and uncaring head of the Executive branch of government decides that the only thing that matters is his ego, his fantasies and his corruption and his cronies agenda. We also learnt the hard way that this illegitimate regime can ignore the people, their feelings, their fears, their circumstances, their hopes and aspirations and force its agenda on the people," Azimio said in a statement read by Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua.

"That is what Ruto and his Kenya Kwanza followers did with the passage of the Finance Bill, 2023. Ignoring the wishes of the wishes of a majority of Kenyans signals the era of dictatorship. Kenyans beware," added Karua.

Moreover, the coalition expressed outrage at the budget's apparent favouritism towards Ruto's associates, as subsidies were allocated to the importation of cooking oil, maize, sugar, rice, and other commodities, which Azimio says benefited a select few at the expense of vulnerable Kenyans.

Azimio argued that Ruto's budget was designed to accommodate corruption, disguising funds for his allies within provisions such as fertilizer subsidies, agricultural development, and small-scale irrigation projects.

"This kind of dictatorship is new! This budget is selfishly tailored to ensure Ruto’s people live large and eat well. They are getting subsidies to import cooking oil, maize, sugar, rice, among other at the expense of vulnerable Kenyans. In this Finance Bill, Ruto’s corruption is properly budgeted for,"  said Karua.

The coalition further cautioned that the budget's approval by the National Assembly would likely result in hyperinflation and erosion of the little money that remained in the pockets of Kenyans during the current harsh economic times.

"Money for Ruto’s people is hidden in provisions like fertilizer subsidy, National Agricultural and Rural Inclusivity, National Agricultural Value Chain Development, Kenya Cereal Enhancement, Emergency Locust Response and Small Scale Irrigation and Value Addition, among others. Where there has been inflation, we must now prepare for hyperinflation," stated Azimio.

Azimio told Kenyans to brace themselves for potential harsher economic hardships ahead even as they lauded MPs who stood up for the people and pushed for amendments to Finance Bill 2023 even as it warned its members who voted against the coalition position.

"To all our MPs who stood up for the people in these difficult times, we salute and celebrate you. We believe Kenyans do too. We celebrate the fact that whereas the regime had said not even a coma would be removed from the Bill, our MPs, with the push from millions of Kenyans were able to force the regime to accept not one, not two, but several amendments. But those amendments were not enough to guarantee the kind of life we desire for Kenyans.

"To all those MPs who knowingly supported a Bill was overwhelmingly rejected by Kenyans, we say to you that the jury is out. The writing is on the wall for this regime as the Bible Tells us; MENE MENE TEKEL."

In that regard, Azimio la Umoja has convened a public consultation meeting at Kamukunji Grounds in Nairobi on Tuesday to chat the way forward after failing to stall the divisive Finance Bill in the National Assembly.

"We have decided to invite Kenyans to a consultation at the Kamukunji Grounds next Tuesday, 27th June at 10 am where the next course of action will be decided. Whenever we have come together as a people, we have always found a solution to our worst problems," Azimio said.