Kenyan Courts Deal Double Blow to President Ruto’s Policies

Jan 26, 2024 | News, Politics | 0 comments

President William Ruto’s honeymoon period with the Kenyan courts seems to be over, as two recent rulings have dealt significant blows to his key policies. This comes amidst a string of setbacks for the new leader, raising questions about his ability to implement his agenda.

Housing Tax on Hold: In a major decision, the Court of Appeal suspended a mandatory 1.5% housing tax introduced by Ruto’s government in July. This levy, aimed at funding a low-cost housing programme, faced strong opposition from various quarters, including businesses and the public. The court ruled that the tax should be suspended until an ongoing appeal against its validity is heard and decided.

This setback is a significant blow to Ruto’s ambitious housing programme, which he has touted as a key pillar of his economic development plans. The court’s decision throws the future of the program into uncertainty, as it relies heavily on the revenue generated by the tax.

Haiti Deployment Blocked: In another blow, the High Court ruled that Ruto’s plan to send Kenyan police officers to Haiti to lead a UN peacekeeping mission is unconstitutional. The court argued that the deployment would violate the Kenyan Constitution, which requires parliamentary approval for any deployment of troops outside the country.

This decision thwarts Ruto’s attempt to fulfil a pledge he made to the international community to contribute to the stabilisation efforts in Haiti, which has been plagued by political instability and gang violence for years. The ruling also raises questions about the Kenyan government’s commitment to its international peacekeeping obligations.

Challenges and Uncertainties: These two rulings highlight the challenges Ruto faces in implementing his agenda. He has faced opposition from various sectors, including the judiciary, which seems to be asserting its independence. Additionally, the uncertainty surrounding key policies like the housing tax and the Haiti deployment could further hinder his progress.

It remains to be seen how Ruto will respond to these setbacks and navigate the complex political landscape. His ability to overcome these challenges and build consensus will be crucial for his success in office.