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Former presidents' pension goes up to Sh74m next year

Thursday December 8 2016

Former Presidents Daniel arap Moi (right) and Mwai Kibaki on May 4, 2016. Their pensions will increase by 15.6 per cent next year, further burdening taxpayers. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Former Presidents Daniel arap Moi (right) and Mwai Kibaki on May 4, 2016. Their pensions will increase by 15.6 per cent next year, further burdening taxpayers. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

GERALD ANDAE
By GERALD ANDAE
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Former presidents Mwai Kibaki and Daniel arap Moi’s pensions will increase by 15.6 per cent next year, further burdening taxpayers.

The former presidents have been allocated Sh74 million for pensions next year, up from Sh64 million in the year ending June, according to estimates in the supplementary budget tabled in Parliament last week.

Retirement benefits of former presidents have come under sharp criticism, especially in the last couple of years when allocations were increased by large margins even as the government insisted it had put in place austerity measures to deal with a bourgeoning wage bill.

If paid equally, the package assures each of the retired presidents a monthly payout of Sh3 million — a figure that is higher than President Uhuru Kenyatta’s official salary of Sh1.5 million.

The High Court last year stopped payment of allowances worth millions of shillings to the two former leaders, saying they were an unnecessary burden to the taxpayer.

The Attorney-General appealed the decision, allowing the two to continue enjoying the hefty allowances.

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Parts of the law that the court nullified entitled Mr Kibaki and Mr Moi to a Sh379,500 monthly house allowance, fuel allowance of Sh247,500, entertainment perks of Sh247,500 and utilities of Sh379,500.

Mr Kibaki signed the allowances into law two weeks before his retirement, effectively awarding himself millions of shillings on his way out.

The supplementary budget indicates that the former presidents have a separate benefits budget, which currently stands at Sh58.8 million or Sh4.9 monthly. This budget will remain unchanged next year.
The law also entitles them to two personal assistants, four secretaries, four messengers, four drivers and bodyguards.

GENEROUS PASSAGE

Taxpayers also pay for workers in Mr Kibaki’s Nairobi office, bought for Sh250 million three years ago, and Mr Moi’s office at Kabarnet Gardens off Ngong Road.

Mr Kibaki left office in 2013 after two five-year terms while Mr Moi retired in 2002 after 24 years in power.

Parliament passed the generous package as an incentive for politicians to leave office voluntarily in the knowledge that their comfort was assured.

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

Mr Kibaki stepped down from the presidency in 2013 after serving two five-year terms while Mr Moi retired in 2002 having been in power for 24 years.

A steep rise in the government’s recurrent expenditure at a time tax revenues are trailing targets has tightened the country’s cash position, leading to declaration of austerity including voluntary cut in executive pay.

Kenya’s annual public wage bill has topped Sh500 billion, eating deep into critical development expenditure.

The supplementary budget has cut development spending by Sh213.5 billion for the current financial year. The mini-budget, which was quietly tabled in Parliament last week, indicates that project spending will drop from the initial budget of Sh820 billion to Sh606.5 billion.

Projects affected by the budget cuts include the standard gauge railway, roads, water, power plants and electricity transmission.