Stop paying Uhuru retirement perks if he insists on engaging in politics

Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka hosted Former President Uhuru Kenyatta in Mwingi Full Gospel Churches for a fundraiser in aid of the Church on November 19, 2023. [Dennis Kavisu, Standard]

Retired President Uhuru Kenyatta once declared that he would not go 'anywhere' upon leaving office. True to his word, he is increasingly engaging in politics, raising questions as to whether Kenyans should continue footing his bills. 

The law dictates that a retired president be fully taken care of by taxpayers plus his immediate family. The same law, however, gives a condition; that that can only apply if the retired head of state isn't politically active. 

Now that the fourth president is still politically active, is there need to continue supporting his lavish lifestyle?

Under the austerity policy adopted by President William Ruto's administration, any money collected directly or indirectly by the State must be put into proper use. I don't think paying Uhuru and servicing his state-of-the-art vehicles and paying his staff should be among our top priorities.  

That amount set aside for his office and staff should be redirected to more deserving needs. Had he completely dissociated himself from active politics either openly or remotely, then we as taxpayers would have demanded that he fully be left to enjoy the fruits as set aside by the Constitution under the President's Retirement Benefits Act No 11 of 2003. 

Of late, Uhuru has been seen actively engaging his fellow Azimio leaders. Reports have emerged of him pushing Raila Odinga, his preferred 2022 presidential candidate, to reject the national dialogue report in totality.

One of his right-hand men has confirmed that the former President is pushing Raila to agree with his view that the National Dialogue Committee report is unacceptable.  

A few days ago, it was reported that he and Raila met Jubilee leaders from Mt Kenya region to strategise on the way forward. 

These are a few publicly known instances of his personal political participation. It is obvious that away from the public eye, he might be engaging his political buddies on matters national leadership. 

Now that Uhuru seems keen on playing politics like any other politician, the constitutional part that bars him from politics and also guarantees him some privileges ought to be revisited to set him free and enable him to engage in daily politicking.  

Meanwhile, it's advisable that Parliament reviews that constitutional section of the supreme law that prohibits retired presidents from dabbling in politics. We will be burying our heads in the sand to expecting presidents who leave office young to totally keep off national politics.

A requirement that retiring presidents be fully taken care of by taxpayers' money is disturbing especially for a struggling economy like ours.  

Just imagine how much money we will require to take care of several future retired presidents at ago with all the constitutional benefits remaining intact for their lifetime. 

A few days ago, Finance CS Njuguna Ndung'u stunned the country when he admitted that the State was broke. With austerity policy in place, all loopholes through which our monies are wasted must be sealed. 

Even though he declared his determination to bring to an end wastage of State resources, President Ruto must demand to see aerial videos of the number of fuel guzzlers that escort him to public functions. 

Last weekend, the president presided over a church function in Kisii. To many people's surprise, the head of state landed in Kisii town, about 10m from the church, in a helicopter. He was then travelled by road escorted by a dozen fuel guzzlers to the function that lasted about two hours. 

The president and his deputy then flew back to Nairobi as the guzzlers hit the road to cover the 350km.

The Kenya Kwanza government is not walking its talk on austerity even as Kenyans are constantly reminded to bear with tough economic times due to a poor economy.


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