Awendo constituency legislator Walter Owino has opened up on why he skipped the crucial finance bill debate at the National Assembly last week.

Awendo MP Walter Owino is escorted by caregivers at Epic Hospital in Ahmedabad, India. PHOTO, COURTESY

The contentious bill that was passed after the Kenya Kwanza legislators floored their Azimio counterparts in the floor of the house with 176 MPs voting for the Bill, against 81 Azimio lawmakers who voted against the legislative proposal, a move that has sparked outrage and discontent from members of the public as well as the opposition leadership.

But the vocal Awendo MP has however stayed put noting that ill health forced him to seek medication overseas amidst claims that he deliberately missed out on the crucial event.

Mr Owino underwent a disc surgery to ease an excruciating back pain which he has been battling for a while.

He was admitted to an Indian hospital for about two weeks prior to the presentation of the contentious bill for the second reading.

According to the legislator, he has been undergoing treatment at Epic Hospital in Ahmedabad, India where surgery to remove two discs from his lower back was conducted last Wednesday.

 “The procedure went well though I am still in pain. The discs were replaced and I am able to walk using a walker,” he said.

A photo shared by the legislator to KTMN news ascertained the facts showing the visibly pained lawmaker being aided to walk by helpers at the hospital after the disc replacement.

Awendo MP Walter Owino during a delegate’s meeting held in his constituency earlier in June. PHOTO: IAN BYRON,KTMN

The legislator however is not among the 28 lawmakers the ODM party has called out for skipping the crucial vote on the Finance Bill last week.

“My detractors have been claiming that I I’m on the list of the 28 yet it’s not the case. The record is out there for all to see,” he said.

ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna last week issued a show cause latter to the MPs who votted for the bill as well as those who apparently snubbed the house sitting, a move that gave a leeway for the draconian bill to succeed .

At least 79 MPs did not cast their votes despite some of them being spotted within the precincts of Parliament minutes before the vote.

Esther Passaris (Nairobi MP), Aden Adow (Wajir South), Elisha Odhiambo (Gem), and Caroli Omondi (Suba South) defied Azimio and voted for the Bill.

The remaining 24 ODM MPs were absent from the House, and now the party wants them to explain why they shouldn’t be punished.

Prior to the vote, National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani  Ichungwa  put up a spirited defence for the contentious Bill amid strong opposition from MPs allied to the Azimio la Umoja – One Kenya coalition.

The opposition whipped its members to reject the bill in its totality despite several concessions by the Kenya Kwanza counterparts.

Top of the concessions made in the amended Bill is the Housing Levy contribution by employers and employees which has been reduced from 3 to 1.5 per cent.

The Finance Committee also slashed withholding tax for Digital Content Creation from 15 to 5 per cent.

20 per cent VAT on Gaming and Betting has been reduced to 12.5 per cent while the mandatory 20 per cent of the contested amount deposit to Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) for lodging Tax Appeal has been repealed.

TAX Rental Income has also been reduced from 10 to 7.5 per cent.

However, the Finance Committee retained the 16 per cent proposal on petroleum products.

By IAN BYRON

Managing Editor, Writer and Political Affairs Enthusiast

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