President Uhuru Kenyatta campaigns in Baringo County. He has made commitments and bail-outs amounting to billions of shillings. (Photo: File/Standard)
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s bag of goodies as he campaigns for his re-election is running into billions of shillings, begging the question whether the financial commitments he is making are budgeted for.
Granting loan waivers, compensations and subsidies to the tune of billions in taxpayers’ money is the order of the day.
While campaigning in Kajiado, Narok and Baringo counties, the President waived a Sh1.5 billion loan owed by wheat, sorghum and livestock farmers.
In the past three years, the Jubilee administration has pumped Sh3.1 billion into the struggling Mumias Sugar Company and another Sh500 million to offset farmers’ debts.
Still in Western region, Uhuru promised Nzoia Sugar Company farmers a Sh300 million bail-out while the Bunyala Fishermen Co-operative Society got a loan waiver of Sh25 million from the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC).
However, the Nzoia Sugar farmers are yet to receive the promised cash, begging the question whether the money was appropriated by the National Assembly.
Gilbert Awino, the sugar miller’s public relations manager, thanked Uhuru for releasing the funds to pay cane farmers but noted that they were still waiting for the money.
Mr Awino said the money was strictly for paying farmers and would not be diverted, adding that they had been engaging the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure that the funds were released as soon as possible.
In Meru County, the President has given Sh1 billion to help miraa farmers access markets while another Sh475 million was issued as a loan waiver to dairy farmers in the same region. Another Sh478 million loan has been waived for Meru coffee farmers.
In total, Sh1.953 billion has been dangled in the Meru region.
The Jubilee administration has also subsidised maize to the tune of Sh6.5 billion while Kirinyaga rice farmers have received a reprieve with a Sh100 million loan waiver.
Exposed: 10 rigging risks in poll register
In Kisii, the President gave cheques worth Sh358 milllion for people displaced in the 2008 post-election violence.
And in Nyamira County the next day, Sh470 million was dished out as compensation to the IDPs living in the region.
In the North Rift, the Jubilee government has indicated that it will compensate Kerio Valley residents displaced by the multi-billion-shilling Kenya Fluorspar Company 40 years ago with a staggering Sh1 billion. An inter-ministerial committee to handle the compensation has been formed.
This follows the President’s directive to Mining Cabinet Secretary Dan Kazungu to initiate the process immediately.
Last month, Mr Kazungu and officials from the Mining ministry toured the area and addressed residents at Kimwarer trading centre in Keiyo South.
The committee comprising members from the Attorney General’s office, Mining, Treasury and Lands ministries as well as National Land Commission (NLC) and the county government was expected to start the process last week.
“We have already received Sh1 billion to commence the compensation. We expect the beneficiaries to receive their dues in a month’s time,” said the CS last month.
Why the Judiciary should be challenged
Campaigning in Kwale County, the Jubilee brigade launched the upgrading of the Kinango-Samburu road in Samburu township to bitumen standards.
The 82-kilometre road is expected to benefit the mining and tourism sectors, open Kwale up to investors and facilitate communication.
Kisumu East MP Shakeel Shabbir, who is a member of the Parliamentary Budget and Appropriations Committee, says the Jubilee administration might be getting money from the Ministry of Interior “whose budget is always shrouded in secrecy”.
According to Mr Shabbir, the Interior ministry got a one-line vote of Sh10 billion for election preparedness. No expenditure breakdown was given.
“I really don’t know where President Kenyatta is getting the money to launch various projects. Security officials have been hiding under the Secrecy Act to divert huge sums of money that cannot be questioned, not even by the Auditor General,” said Shabbir.
It was not easy to establish whether these monies were budgeted or not because some of the projects may or may not have been factored in previous financial allocations.
National Treasury CS Henry Rotich did not respond to our text messages or calls to shed light on the matter.