President William Ruto, on Friday, May 26, acknowledged the nicknamed Zakayo, coined by Kenyans on Twitter (KOT), in an uproar on proposed tax hikes.
Ruto made reference to the nickname while filing his returns at the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) offices at Time Towers.
He responded to suggestions that the government should create a tax collectors' day - similar to that of taxpayers' day.
"We usually have the taxpayers' day in October. My suggestion is that we also have a tax collectors' day. Probably at State House?" one of the delegates stated.
"Since I have already been referred to as Zakayo in some areas. Maybe we can have a tax collectors' day," Ruto responded.
Zakayo is a Swahili name for the shrewd Biblical Tax Collector -Zacchaeus - who pledged to give back four times the amount he had overcharged taxpayers.
The Zakayo nickname originated from Kenyans on social media following tax proposals made by the Ruto administration.
Online users liked the President to Zacchaeus, who climbed the sycamore tree to see Jesus.
Notably, the name went viral after the Finance Bill 2023 was taken to Kenyans for public participation amid uproar from taxpayers.
"If they target Baba (Raila Odinga), they should be ready to terminate us all. We will not relent until Zakayo climbs down and the price of unga is lowered," Azimio La Umoja co-principal and Narc Kenya party leader, Martha Karua stated during a protest rally in Nairobi in March 2023.
"Even Zacchaeus did not tax exorbitantly. Leave Mama Ngina Kenyatta and his son President (Rtd) Uhuru Kenyatta, alone," Azimio La Umoja party leader, Raila Odinga, added.
Ruto was at Time Towers to file his annual returns ahead of the June 2023 timeline. At the event, he reiterated the importance of expanding the tax base to ease pressure on Kenyans.
He also underlined that taxes were necessary to help the government attain its development agenda.
Nonetheless, he maintained that he would ensure that public officers spend the money collected with transparency and accountability.
Times Towers in Nairobi which houses Kenya Revenue Authority’s head office. Thursday, February 20, 2020