Finance Bill 2024: Olunga, Wanyama among sports personalities who rejected unpopular tax proposals


Finance Bill 2024: Olunga, Wanyama among sports personalities who rejected unpopular tax proposals

Joel Omotto 06:43 - 28.06.2024

Football icons Michael Olunga and Victor Wanyama joined other sports personalities in standing in solidarity with Kenyans who resisted the Finance Bill 2024.

Harambee Stars captain Michael Olunga, his predecessor Victor Wanyama, and sprinter Mark Otieno are among Kenyan sports personalities who openly declared their resistance to the Finance Bill 2024, a measure that has since been dropped by President William Ruto.

Kenya has witnessed countrywide protests this week, which spilled into a major revolt against the hugely unpopular bill, that has proposed a number of taxes that the citizens find punitive.

They were not alone in the push as they received support from popular online football influencers as well as current and ex-athletes.

Olunga supported the protests which have been accompanied by the hashtag #RejectFinanceBill2024, posting “Pamoja na waKenya (together with Kenyans)” on Tuesday when the country witnessed heavy protests that saw the demonstrators storm Parliament.

Otieno meanwhile added his voice to the calls, supporting the movement, while former Kenya Sevens star Dennis Ombachi has been among the vocal opponents of the bill.

Ombachi, known as the Roaming Chef, paused his culinary duties for some days to stand and in solidarity with the protesters while calling for the release of those abducted and justice for those killed in the protest.

“A flag I have shed blood sweat and tears representing for over a decade up to the Olympics turned its guns against me using live bullets,” Ombachi posted on X.

“The balcony will remain closed until our voices are heard and all the kidnapped released. Speaking for all sportsmen in the line of duty who can’t.”

Former Harambee Stars captain Wanyama might be thousands of miles away representing CF Montreal in the MLS but he has an eye on what is happening back home, which he fully supports.

“Our heroes, they deserved better,” Wanyama wrote in his Instagram story while calling for justice for the protestors who have lost their lives following the revolt.

It is not just Kenyan sports personalities joining the movement, even popular football influencers around the world have stood in solidarity with Kenyans.

Popular Manchester United fan known as Trey on X has been among those pushing the hashtag.

“Stand strong Kenya #RejectFinanceBill2024,” he posted on Tuesday before adding; “Congratulations Kenya. The power will always rest with the people” the following day when President William Ruto turned down the Bill and sent it back to Parliament for some amendments.

Chelsea supporter Frank Khalid also supported the protest. “I’m supporting my Kenyan brothers & sisters. #RejectFinanceBill2024,” he posted.

The countrywide protests, pushed by Kenyan youth within the Gen Z category, have captured the attention of the world given the shrewd manner they have been organised plus the fact that security personnel were overwhelmed in some areas, leading to loss of lives.

Kenyans have rejected contents of the bill which seeks to increase taxes on a number of essential commodities that have pushed the cost of living through the roof.