By Mzalendo reporter
Before his exit as the country’s Finance minister, Amos Kimunya was a besieged man and not just because of the Grand Regency row, but because of his proposal that MPs allowances be taxed. Kimunya’s proposal that the 222 legislators start paying tax on their allowances had not gone down well with them with several arguing that unlike other Kenyans whose salary is entirely used by themselves MPs have a responsibility to financially assist the electorate.
Kimunya’s proposal was contained in the 2008/09 fiscal year budget and his exit as thetreasury’s boss may have served as a reprieve to majority of legislators. A similar move by Kimunya during the 2007/08 fiscal year was shot down by legislators once it was brought to Parliament.
Currently, an MP earns a gross pay of Sh878, 000 per month. An MP’s basic salary is Sh200, 000; a minimum commuted mileage of Sh75, 000; an entertainment allowance of Sh60, 000; an extraneous allowance pegged at Sh30, 000; a house allowance of Sh70, 000 and a motor vehicle fixed cost of Sh247, 000.
In addition, each Kenyan MP is entitled to a car grant of Sh3.3 million and an interest-free loan of sh8 million to buy a house.
Towards the end of the Ninth Parliament, the law-makers voted themselves a Sh1.5 million gratuity, making the Kenyan parliament probably the only institution in the world in which employees are paid both a gratuity and a pension. Under the present only, only the Sh300, 000 is taxable with the rest of monies being tax free.
This time round, Kimunya did not live to formally bring the proposal before the House floor for debate. But even before it was brought, MPs had their guns loaded, ready to shoot it down. Their sentiments during budget debate were straight to the point-“We cannot be taxed.”
Kimunya’s last words on the MPs taxation, June 26, during debate on budget:
“The other interesting item which I expect to get more comments on from honourable Members, as we discuss these tax proposals, is the issue that touches on all of us here, which is the taxation of the allowances that are paid to us as honourable members and constitutional office holders. In effect, we are saying that nobody in Kenya, from the President to the lowest paid public officer, will be exempted from the national duty of paying their taxes.” Kimunya however was pushed out of office before he brought the proposal before the floor.
However, a considerable number of MPs aired their opposition to the proposal during their contribution on budget.
In the list of those who aired their opposition to the taxation measure include Charles Kilonzo (Yatta), Boni Khalwale (Ikolomani), Ephraim Maina (Mathira), George Nyamweya (nominated), Sospeter Ojaamong’ (Amagoro), Danson Mungatana (Garsen), Soita Shitanda (Malava), Ali Hassan Joho (Hamisi), Charles Keter (Belgut), David Koech (Mosop), Fred Kapondi (Mt. Elgon) and Sammy Mwaita (Baringo Central).
The following are verbatim of some of MPs who either opposed or supported the taxation proposal as captured in the Parliament’s Hansard.
Charles Kilonzo (Yatta) Opposed:
“When the Minister for Finance goes the other way round to say that he wants to tax allowances of honourable Members. A honourable member at the Constituency level is in charge of funerals, hospital bills, church Harambees and bursaries from his pocket because the money for bursary is not enough. He is the man who attends all Harambees. A Member of Parliament is like Robin Hood. You get it from the Government and, through yourself, you give it to the poor people. But who are the people in this Parliament who are saying that allowances should be taxed?”
Peter Kenneth MP for Gatanga and planning assistant minister: Opposed:
“I want to speak about an issue that, to me, looks like an issue that is being played to the public gallery. That is about the taxation of the allowances of Members of this House. Let it come! We do not have to make issues about it! I believe that most of the honourable Members here have become philanthropists in their own homes, and, probably, contribute more than the taxes that they are going to be taxed in their own constituencies! I know of honourable Members in this House, personally included, who spend all their salaries in their constituencies!”
Kenneth went ahead: “It has been said that it is high (MP’s salary), and I agree with that. It is not subject to any increment in the five years that an honourable Member is seated here. It does not take care of the inflation costs that are rising in this country and you expect these honourable Members…… This is what the Minister should look at! He will do the taxation, but he will also face the same Parliamentary Service Commission saying that the cost of fuel is so much, the cost of living is so much, and he will have to review it.”
Ephraim Maina (Mathira): Opposed:
“There is also the issue of taxing the salaries and allowances of honourable Members. Before I came to this House, I thought the salaries and allowances for Members of Parliament were just too much. Today, I know it is nothing because we spend all our salaries to meet the needs of our people. There is no need to expect us to do more than we are already doing.”
He added: “Many Members of Parliament here know that the huge salaries that they are being said to be earning are just peanuts when you compare them with what we do. I can assure you that some of us have hardly put these salaries into our pockets since we came to this House, forget the money we spent earlier.”
Orwa Ojode: Internal security assistant minister and MP for Ndhiwa: Said MPs should start paying taxes 2013.
“I had said clearly that Members of Parliament are not against paying taxes. We are going to pay taxes, but it is for the minister to tell us when we will start doing so. Is it today or tomorrow? Perhaps, the effective date of paying taxes will be in the year 2013. We are not saying that we will not pay taxes. This is because we also want our people to know that Parliamentarians are paying taxes on the Ksh200,000 we get as salary. Yes, we pay Kshs54, 000 and you know that, that amount is deducted from our salaries. So, we do not want this kind of popular politics. As leaders, we have unanimously agreed that were are going to pay taxes. In fact, it is just perception! We should not say that honourable Members are not paying taxes. We are paying taxes! The only tax that the Minister wants to levy on us is the amount of money he is giving us to fuel our vehicles. He should come out clearly and say. “Yes! My colleagues are paying taxes except on the money for fuel and entertainment.”
Some of tax measure supporters as captured in the Hansard:
Yinda, Edwin Ochieng: MP for Alego:
“I would like to support the honourable minister on taxation by encouraging Members of Parliament to pay their dues. I think it is important that when ordinary Kenyans pay taxes without too much complaint, Members of Parliament should also lead be example by paying taxes on your allowances without too much shouting about it. I think many, or most, of the Members of Parliament are willing to support the paying of taxes.
Milly Odhiambo (nominated): supported:
“I know that there has been a lot of debate and discussions in the media in relation to taxation of MPs salaries. Personally, I am not opposed to it. However, as a Member of Parliament, when you are taxing my salary, I would want to see it being put to good use. I want to suggest very clearly to the Minister that part of the money that he propose to tax us, be put into construction of the Mbita Point-Homa Bay Road. Some of it should also go to orphans and vulnerable children.”
David Ngugi: MP for Kinangop. Supported:
“It is very good for people to be able to finance their own activities. There is no other way that a Government can support its own activities other than through its citizens paying taxes. So, fundamentally, paying taxes is a noble thing, and it is everybody’s duty, be they the President, Diplomats whom we have sent out there, people in the country, others in the diaspora and ourselves here in Parliament. So, as a matter of principle, I support that we all pay taxes.”
Danson Mwakulegwa: MP for Voi. Supported:
“Kama vile wenzangu wanapendekeza tutozwe kodi, nakubaliana nao. Tikitozwa kodi, wananchi wengi watafurahi sana. Wabunge 222 wakitozwa kodi, hiyo ni Kshs800 milioni.”
Ongoro: Assistant minister Nairobi Metropolitan Development and Kasarani MP. Supported:
“I do welcome the Minister’s proposal to have honourable Members and constitutional office holders’ allowances subjected to tax. It is my honest belief that we, as leaders, must lead by example. It we have to lead by example, we will lose all our moral authority if we refuse to pay our taxes. We will not have an opportunity to tell other Kenyans who are buying from the same supermarkets and who live in the same house to pay taxes from their meager earnings.”
Johnson Muthama. MP for Kangundo; Supported:
“Juzi, Waziri wa Fedha alitoa mwelekeo wa kutaka kutuweka sisi pamoja na wananchi wengine. Mimi najua sitakuwa kipenzi cha wengi. Hata hivyo, mimi sikuchaguliwa kuwa kipenzi cha wengi. Ikiwa mwananchi wa kawaida ambaye ananunua soda dukani analipa kodi ama yule mwananchi wa kawaida ambaye anapata mshahara wa Ksh15,000 ama Ksh30,000 analipa kodi, mimi nataka kodi kabisa bila kuulizwa nitalipa na nani,”
He was however interrupted on a point of order by Ikolomani MP Bonny Khalwale: Opposed:
“Is honourable Member in order to suggest that the solution to the suffering of Kenyans is the taxation of the allowances of Members of Parliament when we know that the real problem is corruption? The honourable Member is one of the people who received Kshs40 million from Goldenberg and here he is pretending that he is so kind to members of the public. Is he in order?.
Shakeel Shabir: MP for Kisumu town East. Played a middle ground:
“I put to you that there are certain expenses that we, as politicians, and only as politicians, meet. These are wholly, exclusively and necessarily our expenses, be they on funerals, education or other things that we meet every day. The voice asking for taxation is right. We do not mind paying the tax, but you have to then realize that you must allow us to claim expenses against that taxation. We are prepared to give you voucher for this.”
Linturi Mithika: MP for Igembe South: Said right Procedure must be followed.
“The remuneration of honourable Members is clearly set out by the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC). The procedure under which honourable Members are remunerated is through a process that was started by a team led by Rtd. Justice Majid Cockar, which did the recommendations. The recommendations were taken and out into a Bill. I believe the best way to go about it is to follow the right procedure.”
Though a sizeable number of MPs have publicly supported the taxation, the same legislators are likely to gang against the same proposal once it is brought to Parliament leaving the minister hapless.
This is what happened during the Ninth Parliament where by despite publicly supporting the move, the same MPs voted against it in the chambers, leaving the treasury toothless.
While the MPs of the 10th Parliament have been very vocal in challenging the proposal to tax their allowances, this vigor has, unfortunately, not found its way to other critical aspects of the Budget.
This week the Speaker raised concerns that the Budget will be passed without proper debate. So far three days of the allocated seven days for debate have been wasted due to a lack of quorum. In addition, neither the Minister of Finance nor his Assistant, have been present to record the views of the MPs. Readers should note that a lack of quorum is only declared once a MP rings a bell to alert the Speaker that there is no quorum (i.e. there is less than 30 MPs in the House). This essentially means that unless the Speaker’s attention is formally flagged a debate can proceed without the lack of quorum (and this happens often), because no one has rung the bell.
MarsGroupKenya has done a great analysis on why debate on the Budget is so critical. If our ELECTED representatives do not question the governments priorities, who will speak for Kenyans? Please leave a comment for your MP and let them know that you will be watching their stance on taxes on allowances and on the Budget itself. After all – they should be working for YOU!
According to Mars Group, the areas that could benefit from further scrutiny from the MPs include the following (we wonder why the media hasn’t raised similar concerns?):
Hospitality: Last year the GOK budget for entertainment of its guests amounted to Ksh 5.7 million per day for every day of the year. The total bill was Ksh 2.16 billion for the year 2007. This year Mr. Kimunya wants to increase the budget from just under Ksh 500,000 per day to Ksh 728,000 per day?
Utilities: State House has higher water and power budget than 26 whole Ministries including Parliament itself, the Judiciary, and the Ministry of Roads and Public Works.
Rent: MPs should be concerned that GOK spends Ksh 3.995 billion on rents per annum and only receives Ksh 239.368 million per year from property income and rent.
Printing: Last year the Government managed to spend Ksh 6.2 million per day on commercial printing of its documents – despite the existence of the Government Printers Office.
Foreign Travel: Last year, the Government of Kenya spent over Ksh 6.7 million per day every day of the year on foreign travel.
Purchase of Cars: Did you know that State House Nairobi has 149 cars? Did you know that this year Minister of Finance wants to buy Ksh 73 million more worth of cars for State House? Did you know that last year a similar amount of money was spent on cars at State House? Did you know that the Government budget for cars for 2008 has gone up by 1 billion shillings, even as public attention is consumed by the debate on MP’s allowances? Unless MPs debate the budget this week, Minister Kimunya is likely to get approval to spend at least 50% of his Ksh 2.6 billion motor vehicle purchase budget and we will never know why he needs so many cars.
Lump sum budgets: Every year the Minister of Finance presents lump sum budgets for the National Security Intelligence Services, the Armed Forces and the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission. This year their collective budgets will pass the Ksh 47 billion mark – and yet they will be no debate on the budget items in them because the Minister of Finance has helpfully provided none. Here’s a question for the MPs: why would the official agency responsible for promoting transparency and accountability in Government not be accountable to Parliament for every single shilling in its budget?
KEN REN FERTILISER FACTORY: The Minister of Finance intends to pay an Austrian Bank called BAWAG over Ksh 300 million this year for the never-built fertilizer factory.
NAVY SHIP: Did you know that the Minister of Finance has asked Parliament to authorize the payment of a staggering Ksh 4.94 billion this year to 3 foreign companies for a controversial Navy Ship? Did you know that the Controller and Auditor General told Parliament in 2006, that this deal was illegal and had breached the External Loans Act which requires parliamentary approval for all foreign debt? Did you know that the ship which the Minister of Finance wants to use tax money to pay for does not have weapons on board, and its equipment’s warranty has lapsed? Did you know that all these issues have not been properly investigated to date? Did you know that Ksh 4.94 billion is more than the entire budget of the Ministry of Water? Do you believe that Members of Parliament should approve the Minister of Finance’s request to spend taxpayers’ money this way?
By Mzalendo Reporter
The People’s Budget
A day before Kenya’s Finance Minister Amos Kimunya read in Parliament the 2008/2009 financial year budget, civil society groups presented an alternative fiscal plan which they called The People’s Budget. Among the key proposals contained in The People’s Budget is that salaries of Members of Parliament be reduced by a half and be liable to taxation.Such a move, the groups said, will free huge resources that can be used on other crucial sectors such as teachers, police and health personnel. A Kenyan MP earns a gross salary of KSh 800,000 per month.
The civil society groups that prepared and presented the People’s Budget are the Socio-Economic Rights Foundation, the New Dawn: Nascent Start, the Nairobi People Settlement Network and the End Poverty 2015 Millennium Campaign.
Proposed also were reduction of VAT to 13 percent, redirection of part of the military and defence spending to social protection, education, health, water, infrastructure among other crucial sectors that directly touches on the poor.
The Peoples Budget also proposed that adequate funds be allocated to the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission and also more cash towards completion of popular people driven constitution review including a referendum.
Other highlights of the People’s Budget are as follows:
Poverty: Government to introduce a Basic Income Grant (BIG) as one way of reducing poverty among the poor. Proposed was that at least KSh3, 000 be paid each months to any unemployed Kenyan aged 18 and above. The money should come from tax system.
Employment: To increase employment opportunities, it was proposed that government embark on public works programme, widespread community services and accelerated programmes for skills development. It was also proposed that government invest more in employment creating sectors especially targeting the youth.
Housing: It was proposed that government and financial institutions to extend more affordable finance for housing to low income earners. Government also asked to allocate more funds for housing development especially for the Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme. Another proposal was that Government to set aside funds to purchase land for resettlement of people living in slums e.g. Mukuru Kayaba and Mukuru Kwa Njenga in Nairobi.
Water and Sanitation: It was proposed that government support community sanitation improvement programmes. Increased funding for water supply within people’s settlements and renovation of dilapidated sewerage facilities were proposed. The People’s Budget also proposed that Local authorities to put up dumping sites as a way of ending haphazard disposal of solid waste.
Food Security: State to set aside more funds to expand government grain stock to cushion any food shortage. Government to crack a whip on cartels that sell farm inputs at inflated prices. Government asked to adopt measures to boost food production such as lowering of fertilizer prices and provision of other subsidies. Increased funding for irrigation schemes countrywide and increased allocation towards a national tree planting programme and re-afforestation were also proposed.
Transport: Establishment of a national subsidized public transport system that is safe and fast was proposed. Government was asked to reduce excise duty on imported spare parts from 20% to 10%. It was further proposed that amount of parking fee, which currently stand at KSh70 per day within Nairobi’s Central Business District be increased.
Arid and Semi-Arid Areas: The People’s Budget proposed that more funds be allocated for constructing abattoirs. State asked to allocate more funds for revamping the Anti-Stock Theft Unit and strengthen peace and reconciliation structures as a way of combating insecurity. It was proposed that more funds be allocated for putting up solar energy plant and for putting up more schools. Government also asked to establish a special fund to increase water network in these regions.
Youth: It was proposed that civil servants who have attained retirement age to quit office to pave way for younger generation. The budget proposed that the Youth Enterprise Development Fund policy be changed to enable individual fund applications rather than the group’s requirement. Government also asked to ensure that 5 percent of all government procurements are sourced from Youth owned enterprises.
Women: Government asked to increase the Women Development Funds kitty. State also asked to provide finances for early childcare in order to give women more time to look for employment.
Unlike last year, the Ministry of Finance has not been diligent about putting up budget related documents on their website. Perhaps due to the long hiatus and confusion arising out of the post-election crisis, which required the Ministry to focus on other matters. We do hope that the official documents will be made available soon. One wonders what exactly the e-government department is up to?
A summary of what’s forthcoming in the budget is captured here.
Bankelele also has a great summary on his blog.
The ministry had earlier put out a notice asking Kenyans to send in their recommendations for the budget. Some views can be found here.
BY MWALIMU MATI
In 2007, the Kenya National Budget was set at about Ksh 700 billion (about USD 10.7 billion).
Of this amount, the Government has to make loan repayments and pension payments (for retired civil servants) to the tune of Ksh 141 billion (or USD 2.1 billion).
Of the remaining Ksh 559 billion (USD 8.6 billion), the Government planned to spend Ksh 300 billion (USD 4.6 billion) on running 34 Ministries.
After catering for Government’s running costs (salaries, equipment, furniture both office and household), there is only Ksh 260 billion (or USD 4 billion) for Development Expenditure available. However not all this money comes from the Government. In fact it borrows about Ksh 52 billion (or USD 800 million) for building roads, improving infrastructure, providing health and education services etc… from international donors. In the past the Government has misused loans and left Kenyans to repay.
At the end, only Ksh 200 billion (USD 3.2 billion) will remain for spending on the people of Kenya – the majority of whom live below the poverty line.
Now that the Cabinet has been increased to 43, the Government must spend more. Back of the Envelope Calculations say that the average recurrent cost of running a Ministry is Ksh 8.8 billion – or USD 130million. Therefore 9 new Ministries would cost 9 times Ksh 8.8 billion equivalent to Ksh 79.2 billion or USD 1.2 billion. This increase wipes out the Ksh 50 billion, the Ministry of Finance will raise from selling some of its Safaricom shares.
The money for the new Ministries will, of necessity, be deducted from the Ksh 200 billion development budget (USD 3.2 billion).
So at the end of the day, having 43 Ministries means that Kenyans are not likely to have more than Ksh 130 billion (USD 2billion) spent on them for Education, Health, Road Construction and Water to take a few examples of what Government is meant to actually be doing to develop Kenya.
It is tragic that a 43 member Cabinet means that Kenyans will expect only about 19% of the Ksh 700 billion national budget to be spent on developing the country. It appears as if the GOK has ceased to have a development function and exists only to tax Kenyans, and spend taxpayer’s money on GOK recurrent costs (salaries, loans and pensions).
What will those who pay for all this (taxpayers and donors) have to say to this economic mismanagement knowing that Kenyans:
– live with inflation above 20%
– want an end to the sad situation whereby well over 150,000 IDPs live in tents (supported by the Red Cross – not the GOK)
– will soon suffer from food shortages this year and have to rely on charity
– thought that the National Accord was intended to facilitate relief to the poorest and worst off – and not to construct a bloated government
– have heard that the Government has asked donors for Ksh 31 billion (USD 476 million) to resettle the IDPs, because the GOK is unable to raise this amount from its own resources.
And to cap it all, Parliament will now have to scrutinise the budget for this leviathan Grand Coalition with only 129 MPs not in Government. Last year over 36 vote heads were guillotined, and passed unscrutinised, for lack of debating time. This included the budget for the Ministry of Finance, which prepared the budget for 2007, and suspiciously doubled its own budget. The death knell is being sounded for parliamentary check on executive authority.
Finally, are the Kenyan people architects of their own misfortune, or victims of rapacity in the political elite?
Kenyans for Peace and Justice (KPTJ) have launched a SMS campaign to urge politicians to fight against a bloated Cabinet. Given the current impasse, there is still an opportunity to urge OUR elected representatives to stop being selfish and to put the nation’s interest before their personal interests.
While we do not have the contact information of all MPs, we at Mzalendo are working hard to update what is missing. We do have quite a number of emails and phone numbers so click on the MP profiles and use that information to contact them and express your views – our country should not be held hostage by a few individuals. Also, please help us fill the information gaps by leaving a comment or via the contact page. If you are unable to SMS, you can express how you feel by leaving a comment on your MP’s profile page. Also please forward this widely to your own networks and contacts.
Some examples of messages you can send are below (it adds strength to your sms if you personalize it by addressing the MP directly. e.g. “Mr. Saitoti, Kenyans want a lean, clean cabinet.”)
Siasa Ya Pupa
Kenyans Want A Lean, Clean Cabinet
Lean and Clean
Greed is Obscene
Do the Right Thing for Kenya
No More Than 24
Our Country Our Cabinet
No More Than 24
Contact info for some of the MPs:
Abdirahman, H.Ali – Wajir South – KANU – 0721-724746 / 0722-144999 firstname.lastname@example.org
Chiaba, Mohamed Abu – Lamu East – PNU – 0722-410177
Bahari, Abdul Ali – Isiolo South – KANU – 0733-289501
Balala, Mohammed Najib – Mvita – ODM – 0733 333500 /0724 – 650000 email@example.com
Bifwoli, Wakoli Sylvester – Bumula – PNU – 0733-865323 Wakolib@yahoo.com
Chepkitony, Lucas Kipkosgei – Keiyo North – ODM – 0733-635894 / 0722816064
Ethuro, David – Turkana Central – PNU- 0722-526370 firstname.lastname@example.org
Gesami, James Ondicho – West Mugirango – ODM- 0733 826090
Gisuka, Machage Wilfred – Kuria – DP – 0733-451806/0725834575
Kajembe, Ramathan Seif – Changamwe – ODM – 0721 609777 Langoni@swiftmombasa.com
Kajwang’, Gerald Otieno – Mbita – ODM – 0722-882787
Kamama, Asman Abongotum – Baringo East – PNU – 0731-583303
Karua, Martha Wangari Gichugu – PNU – 0721 623 342 / 0733-747551
Kenneth, Peter Gatanga – PNU – 0722 512996 email@example.com
Kenyatta, Uhuru – Gatundu South – KANU – 0722 463 891
Keter, Charles Cheruiyot – Belgut – ODM – 0722 530555
Khalwale Boni – Ikolomani – NEW FORD-K – 0721 318722
Khaniri, George Munyasa – Hamisi – ODM – 0722-859341
Kilonzo, Julias Kiema Mutito – ODM-K – 0722-513605 firstname.lastname@example.org
Kilonzo, Charles Mutavi – Yatta – ODM-K – 0734-621593 email@example.com
Kimunya Amos Muhinga Kipipiri PNU – 0722518801 / 520936 firstname.lastname@example.org
Kinyanjui, Lee Maiyani – Nakuru Town – PNU – 0722 842653
Kiunjuri, Festus Mwangi – Laikipia East – PNU – 0721 600 305
Kuti Mohammed Abdi – Isiolo North – NARC-K – 0733 235914
Lesirma, Simeon Saimanga – Samburu West – ODM – 0722-719946 email@example.com
Magara – James Omingo – South Mugirango – ODM – 0722 911274 firstname.lastname@example.org
Katoo, Ole Metito J – Kajiado South – 0721-640175
Midiwo, Washington Jakoyo – Gem – ODM – 0721 504 040 / 0733 421277/ 0722 935761
Mohamed, A.H.M – Mandera West – ODM – 0722-779942
Mohammed, Haji Yusuf – Ijara – KANU – 0722-709395
Mugo, Beth Wambui – Dagoretti – PNU – 0722-205753 email@example.com
Mungatana, Danson Buya – Garsen – NARC-K – 0722-411971 firstname.lastname@example.org
Munyes, John Kiyonga – Turkana North – PNU – 0721-339094 email@example.com
Murungi, Kiraitu – South Imenti – PNU – 0721-240863 firstname.lastname@example.org
Musila, David – Mwingi South – ODM-K – 0722 571117 email@example.com
Musyoka, Stephen Kalonzo – Mwingi North – ODM-K – 0722 523 872 / 0735 161 588
Mwangi, Onesmus Kigumo – PNU – 0722-778581 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mwatela, Andrew Calist – Mwatate – ODM 0733 719 871
Mwiria, Valerian Kilemi – Tigania West – PNU – 0733-657562 email@example.com
Ndambuki, Gideon Musyoka – Kaiti – ODM-K – 0720-384553/0734-758567 firstname.lastname@example.org
Githae, Robinson Njeru – Ndia – PNU – 722514837
Nkaisserry, Joseph Kasaine – Kajiado Central – ODM – 0721-356786 email@example.com
Nyong’o, Peter Anyang’ – Kisumu Rural – ODM – 0733 454 133 firstname.lastname@example.org
Odinga, Raila Amolo – Langata – ODM – 0733 620 736 email@example.com
Oginga, Oburu Bondo – ODM – 0733 818517/ 0724-105493 firstname.lastname@example.org
Odeke, Sospeter Ojaamongson Amagoro – ODM – 0733 967345 / 0722 813819
Ojode, Joshua Orwa Ndhiwa – ODM – 0722- 514830 Ojode7@hotmail.com
Okemo, Chrysanthus Nambale – ODM – 0733-608895 Chrisokemo@yahoo.com
Olweny, Patrick Ayiecho – Muhoroni – ODM – 0722-734187/0733-784633
Onyancha, Charles – Bonchari – ODM – 0722-248190 email@example.com
Oparanya, Wycliffe Ambetsa – Butere – ODM – 0722 521856
Osebe, Walter Enock Nyambati – Kitutu Masaba – N LP – 0722 724 556
Poghisio, Samuel Losuron Kacheliba – ODM-K – 0722-520663 / 0734-200836 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ruto, Samoei William K. – Eldoret North – ODM – 0722 517 997 email@example.com
Shaban Naomi Namsi Taveta KANU 0722 814 412
Shitanda, Peter Soita – Malava – NEW FORD-K – 0721-341241 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sugow Ahmed Aden Fafi KANU 0721-596726
Twaha, Yasin Fahim – Lamu West – NARC-K – 0722-925108
Wekesa, Noah Muhlanganga – Kwanza – PNU – 0722-774374 email@example.com
Were, David Aoko Matungu – ODM – 0722 707548/0733 569180 firstname.lastname@example.org
Wetangula – Moses Makisa Sirisia – PNU – 0722 517 302 / 806 363 email@example.com
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF KENYA
Amos Wako 0722 772 453
By Mwalimu Mati
It is astonishing to hear that some crazy person, or people have suggested
a Kenya Cabinet size of 44. According to the 2007/8 budget the total cost of running 34 ministries
this year is Ksh 299.6 billion (an average of Ksh 8 billion per ministry
per annum). Using the same average cost, 44 Ministries might cost you and
I about Ksh 387 billion. Are you prepared to fork out another 100 billion
shillings or so every year to accommodate your Member of Parliament’s
desire to have a flag and to be called “Waziri”?
Let’s be clear, MPs were elected to represent us, not to agitate for
wasteful government expenditure in the name of power sharing. Certainly,
they are not meant to be inciting Government to spend Ksh 100 billion more
for no serious purpose beyond contriving to get Mwai Kibaki and Raila
Odinga to give them sinecures at public expense.
If you read the 2007/2008 Estimates of Recurring Expenditure of the
Government of Kenya, you will find that Ksh 100 billion per year is
equivalent to Kenya’s current annual public debt repayments. Ksh 100
billion would finance the youth fund for 100 years and the women’s fund
for 50 years. Ksh 100 billion would build ten 10-lane highways each of 50
km of length – the distance between Nairobi and Thika. It is twice the
aid in loans and grants received from bilateral partners for development;
and four times all the grants Kenya receives from multilaterals such as
the World Bank.
We cannot afford to spend Ksh 100 billion this year on a bloated
government. We have better things to do with our money. What has the GOK
done about IDPs who are still living in tents and being chased from place
to place by GOK security personnel whenever they dare to complain about
their abysmal living conditions? Nothing. What provision is really being
made for the resettlement and welfare of these unfortunate fellow
citizens? Your guess is as good as mine. Do the people negotiating the
size of the Cabinet have even a spare thought for the IDPs? I doubt it.
Ksh 100 Billion is two times as much as we all lost because of corruption
in Anglo Leasing. It is twice the amount of money Treasury will raise
from the sale of public shares in Safaricom. In fact it is equivalent to
at least 5 years of Safaricom’s profit at 17 billion shillings.
Kenya needs a good government not a big one. Today noone seriously argues
that we have a good government in place. In fact, and here I am
suggesting a vetting methodology for high offices, only 7 of the current
Ministers would pass the test of not being adversely mentioned in PAC,
PIC, KACC reports, or adverse court judgements. At over 30 Ministries
(larger and better paid at top level than any World power) we already have
a big government. Who is trying to get us to pay more for an even larger
cabinet? For how long can we continue this way?
In my opinion, we need no more than 12 Ministries with one Assistant each.
The rest of the Members of Parliament should represent us as they were
voted, and are paid quite handsomely, to do from the Back Benches on both
sides. We need good honest technocrats to run the public service for the
benefit of the public with minimal political interference by temporary
ministers. We need to stop pampering politicians who only recently caused
us all to have the life threatening, or near death experience that we
euphemistically call the “post election crisis”. On this point many of
those jostling and lining up for positions at our expense ought properly
to be investigated for their individual roles in the making of this
crisis. What were many of them doing in the run-up to the election of
December 27th 2007? Where were many of them when we needed them to help
Kenyans? Who has mismanaged our public resources in the past, present and
in the near future if we don’t stop them? Indeed these are questions we
should be focusing our energy in answering.
Our immediate and priority concern should be directed to the poorest and
not the wealthiest Kenyans. Nearly twenty million Kenyans live on less
than Ksh 64 per day. That means they will make no more or have no more to
spend than Ksh 25,000 in a whole year. And that is for families! These
are the Kenyans we should be spending money on. I would prefer to spend
100 billion shillings this coming year on poor Kenyans rather than
continuing to fatten political sacred cows.
Finally, the only reason such a proposal is even seeing the light of day
is the fact that despite the clear provisions of section 16 of the
Constitution, Parliament has never made a law to establish and determine
the number and portfolios of the Cabinet. Never – in 45 years! Is this
the reason why there is no outrage from our elected MPs about the abuse of
authority and culture of sinecures which has persisted in Kenya since the
days of Jomo Kenyatta?
[Mzalendo readers what are your views on the Cabinet? What should be the ideal size? What reforms need to be undertaken? ]