Ruto allocates Uhuru hefty Sh678.5m retirement perks


Thursday February 09 2023


Former President Uhuru Kenyatta gestures during the East African Community (EAC)- led Nairobi Process, the third peace talk on the eastern region of DRC at Safaripark hotel in Nairobi on December 6, 2022. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG

The Treasury has allocated former President Uhuru Kenyatta Sh678.57 million for his pension and retirement perks for the year to June, including a fully furnished office, limousines and salaries for scores of aides.

The allocation is contained in President William Ruto’s first supplementary budget, which has seen the new administration tweak its spending and budget deficit estimates for the current fiscal year.

The Sh678.57 million includes Sh655.32 million for Mr Kenyatta’s office while Sh23.47 million — equivalent to Sh1.95 million monthly — will be wired as pension to the former President’s bank accounts.

The Treasury under Mr Kenyatta had omitted allocations for the perks from the budget for the year starting July last year, which was viewed as a pointer to the Head of State’s quest to remain active in party politics.

It was understood that the Treasury sought to avoid breaching sections of the law that bar a retired President from holding office in a political party six months after retirement.

Mr Kenyatta was in February last year offered a five-year term as head of Jubilee Party and is listed as chairman of Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition’s council, the vehicle veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga used for his unsuccessful fifth bid for Kenya’s presidency.

The perks for Mr Kenyatta include Sh140 million for the purchase of luxury vehicles and other transport-related equipment and Sh162.49 million to facilitate his trips within Kenya and overseas.

Mr Kenyatta’s perks will be the largest offered to a retired President, underlining the burden of keeping former heads of state in Kenya happy in retirement.

The late Mwai Kibaki was offered perks worth Sh94.26 million in the fiscal year starting July 2014 —his first full year after exiting the office.

Also read: Auditor, budget chief set for hefty retirement perks

Mr Kibaki’s retirement cost still trails that of Mr Kenyatta even factoring in the Sh250 million that was used to buy him an office block at Nyari Estate in Nairobi.

A retired President’s once-a-month pension is set at 80 percent of his pensionable salary, which is equivalent to 60 percent of the Sh1.44 million monthly pay offered to the sitting President.

He also has other perks like fuel, house and entertainment allowances, which push the overall benefits above the salaries and allowances of top chief executives of State-owned firms like KenGen, Kenya-Re, and Kenya Power.

Benefits of the retired presidents have come under sharp focus, especially in the past couple of years when allocations increased by large margins, even as the government insisted that it had put in place austerity measures to contain a growing public sector wage bill.

In 2015, the High Court stopped the government from paying allowances worth millions of shillings to former President Daniel arap Moi, who died on February 4, 2020, and Mr Kibaki, who passed on April 21, 2022, after finding that they were an unnecessary burden to the taxpayers.

The Attorney-General appealed the decision, allowing them to continue enjoying the high pay.

Sections of the law that the court nullified entitled the two to a Sh300,000 house allowance per month, fuel (Sh200,000), entertainment (Sh200,000) and utilities (Sh300,000).

The law also entitles them to two personal assistants, four secretaries, four messengers as well as four drivers and bodyguards, pushing the office and home workers to 34 under the scheme funded by taxpayers.

Retired presidents are also entitled to four cars, including two limousines, which are replaced every four years. They have full medical cover and fully furnished offices.

The Treasury has allocated Mr Kenyatta Sh75.5 million for paying his aides’ salaries, Sh55 million for refreshments, Sh50 million for car fuel and maintenance and Sh120 million for foreign travel.

The budget documents submitted to Parliament show that Raila Odinga has been offered Sh78.7 million to run his office as a former prime minister.

Retired vice-presidents Moody Awori and Kalonzo Musyoka have been allocated Sh43.1 million and Sh59.2 million respectively.

The lavish exit package has also come under heavy criticism on grounds that some of the retired State officials left office as rich men with property worth billions of shillings and vast business interests.

The Kenyatta family owns a significant stake in Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) that in 2019 merged with the listed NIC Bank to form NCBA Group —which is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE).

Read: World Bank faults Uhuru’s growth for helping the rich

The Kenyattas control about 13.2 percent of the new entity, valuing their stake at Sh5.82 billion based on the bank’s market valuation of Sh44.2 billion at the close of trading on Wednesday.

Their investments include Brookside Dairy and the upmarket hotel chain, Heritage Hotels East Africa.

The family is also linked to Media Max Company — which owns K24 TV, Kameme Radio and The People Daily newspaper — and thousands of acres of prime land across Kenya.

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Beryl Onyango

Beryl Onyango is a CPA and economics degree holder who has dedicated her career to helping others navigate the complex world of finance. Beryl has spent the past 3 years working as a finance specialist in a fintech company and has 6 years of experience in finance, working with a diverse range of clients and industries. Beryl's expertise lies in budgeting, saving, investing, and retirement planning, but she also has a deep understanding of various other areas of finance. She is interested in financial technology and how it changes how we manage our finances. As a finance writer, Beryl has been sharing her insights and knowledge through her writing, covering various finance and personal finance topics. Her goal is to educate and empower individuals to take control of their finances and achieve their financial goals. In addition to her professional experience, Beryl is a lifelong learner, always seeking to expand her knowledge and stay up-to-date with the latest developments in finance. She is also a strong communicator, able to explain complex financial concepts in a clear and easy-to-understand manner. Beryl believes that financial literacy is the key to achieving financial success, and she is dedicated to helping others achieve their financial goals.

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