Rent-seeking and Taxation Pilfering in Kenya: Impact on Post-colonial Economy
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Kenyans have witnessed taxation injustice since the colonial period. At the onset, colonial taxation in Kenya materialized as an instrument of submission, governance and of economic exploitation. It is through taxation that the peasantry and the working class was formed, fashioned and captured by the state. Within the post-colonial state, and in association with the comprador bourgeoisie and the political elite, their daily discourse and clichés, skulks around - ‘Whose goat have I eaten?’ Where is the place of the subaltern citizen? Who bears the burden of taxes and who benefits from public programmes? Do taxpayers have a role in the appropriation of revenue collected? How have taxation policies affected the everyday life of the subaltern citizen? The Gramscian model of the subaltern collective marginalization by the hegemonic ruling classes and Hirschman’s representation of exit, voice and loyalty perspective guides the thinking behind this article. Do hegemonic taxpayers have exit or voice options? Retrospectively, independence did not certainly alter the parasitic nature of the colonial state. Subtle and opportunistic systems continue to be exploited by both central and county governments to project regressive taxes. This article examines the basics of taxation pilfering in Kenya and argues that the postcolonial state remains predatory, hence the urgency to deconstruct the tax regime.