Yatani leaves out the budget for Uhuru’s retirement office

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Yatani leaves out the budget for Uhuru’s retirement office


President Uhuru Kenyatta. PHOTO | PSCU

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  • The Treasury Department is understood to avoid violating parts of the law that bans a retired president from holding office in a political party six months after retiring.
  • Voters are due to go to the polls on August 9 but Mr Kenyatta will not stand for election due to a constitutional term limit of two five-year terms.
  • The law allows the Treasury Department to provide a monthly pension of Sh691,200 to a retired President regardless of political affiliation.

The Treasury removed allocations for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s retirement office and staff from the budget for the year beginning in July, another indication of the leader’s desire to remain active in party politics.

Budget estimates presented in Parliament failed to allocate an estimated Sh100 million which would have provided for a fully furnished office for the retired President, aides-de-camp, limousines and other perks such as house, fuel and entertainment allowances.

The Treasury Department is understood to avoid violating parts of the law that bans a retired president from holding office in a political party six months after retiring.

Voters are due to go to the polls on August 9 but Mr Kenyatta will not stand for election due to a constitutional term limit of two five-year terms.

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

The law allows the Treasury Department to provide a monthly pension of Sh691,200 to a retired President regardless of political affiliation.

Budget proposals tabled in Parliament show that the Treasury has created a new budget vote called Tipping Retired Presidents from July 2022, to coincide with the end of Mr Kenyatta’s second and final term following the August election.

The new voting right was valued at Sh72 million for the year beginning July and will increase to Sh79.2 million in FY2024.

The Treasury has also increased an allocation for the President’s retired pension from the current Sh34.4 million earmarked for the retirement of former President Mwai Kibaki to Sh42.42 million from July next year.

This represents an additional monthly pension of Sh666,700 and is close to the amount due to Mr Kenyatta under the Presidential Retirement Benefits Act 2003.

A retired President’s monthly pension is set at 80 per cent of his pensionable salary, which is 60 per cent of the Sh1.44 million monthly salary offered to the incumbent President.

He also has other perks such as fuel, house and entertainment allowances that elevate overall benefits above the salaries and allowances of top CEOs at state-owned companies such as KenGen #ticker:KEGN , Kenya-Re #ticker:KNRE and Kenya Power #ticker: KPLC .

The achievements of retiring presidents have come under much focus, particularly in recent years when allocations have soared, despite government insistence that austerity measures have been taken to curb rising public sector wage bills.

In 2015, the Supreme Court barred the government from paying millions of dollars in allowances to former President Daniel arap Moi and Mr Kibaki, who died on February 4, 2020, after finding they placed an unnecessary burden on taxpayers.

The Attorney General has since appealed the decision, allowing them to continue enjoying the high salary.

Sections of the law that the court had voided entitled the two to an allowance of Sh300,000 for the house, fuel (Sh200,000), entertainment (Sh200,000) and utilities (Sh300,000).

The law also entitles them to two personal assistants, four secretaries, four messengers, and four drivers and bodyguards, bringing the number of office and home workers under the taxpayer-funded program to 34.

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

In addition to his pension, Mr Kibaki enjoys the benefits that President Kenyatta is denied because of his dealings with a political party.

“A retired President shall not hold office in any political party more than six months after he has left office as President,” states the Presidential Retirement Benefits Act.

Mr. Kibaki has retired from politics since retiring in 2013. The Treasury has allocated him Shillings 100.1 million to run his office, up from the current Shillings 98.6 million.

Mr Kenyatta has backed his former political enemy, Mr Odinga, after the two made peace in early 2018, effectively sidelining Deputy President William Ruto, who has been vocal about his own presidential ambitions.

dr Ruto resigned from the ruling Jubilee Party and is running on the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) list.

Mr Odinga and Dr. Ruto have struggled in the election campaign, particularly in central Kenya where ethnic Kikuyu votes are up for grabs from Mr Kenyatta.

The lavish exit package has also been heavily criticized because some of the retired civil servants left office as wealthy men with billions of shillings worth of assets and enormous business interests.

The Kenyatta family owns a significant stake in Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA), which recently merged with publicly traded NIC Bank to form NCBA Group #ticker:NCBA, which is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) #ticker:NSE is noted.

The Kenyattas control about 13.2 per cent of the new company and value their stake at Sh5.82 billion based on the bank’s market valuation of Sh44.2 billion as of yesterday’s close.

Her investments include Brookside Dairy and upscale hotel chain Heritage Hotels East Africa.

The family is also connected to the Media Max Company – the owner K24 TV, Came radio and The People newspaper — and thousands of hectares of prime land throughout Kenya.

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