Memorandum on Budget 2010-2011

MEMORANDUM ON BUDGET 2010-2011

 

Introduction:

Under the Fiscal Management Act the National Assembly is empowered to regulate and provide oversight of the national budget process.  In this duty it is also to provide general direction and impetus in the realization of the objectives of the Fiscal Management Act; and to ensure adherence by the Minister of Finance and public entities to the broad principles of prudent fiscal management.  Among the principles of prudent fiscal management is that the National Assembly must while considering the Estimates have regard to prior audit reports and recommendations thereof.  As a result, the Fiscal Management Act requires that the Annual Estimates brought before the National Assembly comply to the letter of the Fiscal Management Act, and in particular addresses audit recommendations detailed below which have been pending since as long ago as the Third Session of the 10th Parliament.  The queries have been raised by both the National Assembly and the Controller and Auditor General’s Reports which are presently before the National Assembly. 

 

Reasons:

For the following reasons the National Assembly should prior to approval of the Annual Estimates for 2010-2011 ensure that the Ministry of Finance complies with the provisions of the Fiscal Management Act of 2009 as detailed below.

 

  1. Publish a Treasury Report:  According to the Fiscal Management Act section 9(2) the Annual Estimates must be accompanied by a Treasury Report and this was not done by the DPM and Minister of Finance.  According to section 9(2) of the Fiscal Management Act the Treasury Report is meant to specify, by department, all the measures taken by the Government to implement the audit recommendations made by the National Assembly in the previous year. 

 

  1. Address the Pending Independent Forensic Audit (2009):  According to section 9(2) of the Fiscal Management Act the Treasury Report is meant to specify, by department, all the measures taken by the Government to implement the audit recommendations made by the National Assembly in the previous year.  Among the major audit recommendations is one for an Independent Forensic Audit made by the Finance and Budget Committees’ Report on discrepancies in the Supplementary Estimates for 2008/2009.  This Report was adopted by the National Assembly on May 13th 2009, and yet no action has been taken to commission the independent forensic audit.

 

 

  1. Address Serious Audit Queries by the Controller & Auditor General (pending since 2008):  Among the major audit recommendations pending are those contained in the Report of the Controller and Auditor General on the Appropriation Accounts, Other Public Accounts and the Accounts of the Funds of the Republic of Kenya for the Year 2007-8 in Appendix B at page 265 indicates that for the year ending June 30th 2008 the Controller and Auditor General declined to certify the Recurrent and Development Appropriation Accounts of the Minister of Finance; and the following statements of the Ministry of Finance – the Statements of Outstanding Loans, the Statements of Obligations Guaranteed by the Government of Kenya; and, the Statements of Investments by the Government of Kenya in Local Companies.

 

  1. Address Serious Audit Queries by the Controller & Auditor General (pending since 2007):  The Report of the Controller and Auditor General on the Appropriation Accounts, Other Public Accounts and the Accounts of the Funds of the Republic of Kenya for the Year 2006-7 in Appendix B  at page 335 indicates that for the year ending June 30th 2007 the Controller and Auditor General declined to certify the Development Appropriation Accounts of the Ministry of Finance; and the following statements of the Ministry of Finance – the Statements of Outstanding Loans; the Statements of Obligations Guaranteed by the Government of Kenya; and, the Statements of Investments by the Government of Kenya in Local Companies.

 

 

 

Kenya’s Treasury Has Admitted It is Paying for the Phantom Ken Ren Fertiliser Factory – Surely Now We Can Have an Independent Forensic Audit?

Kenya’s Treasury has admitted it is Paying for the Ken Ren Fertiliser Factory that Never Was – Surely now we can have an Independent Forensic Audit?

Yes! At last, the Kenyan Permanent Secretary for Finance, Joseph Kinyua, has admitted he’s been making payments for the phantom Ken Ren Fertiliser project for years. We feel vindicated. It took a couple of years but Treasury has finally given up the fight to keep Kenyans from knowing that (though they can ill afford it) they are making payments for a fertilizer factory they never got; and to two Private Banks in Europe at that.

In June 2007, while researching a scam involving 4 Ukrainian bought, Russian made, Kenya Police Airwing junk helicopters Mars Group came across entries in the national budget for 2006-7 for foreign debt repayments in the name of the Ken Ren Chemical and Fertiliser Factory which never was. Naturally we published a report about this and to our bemusement the Treasury immediately denied its own documents and called us liars.

Months later a short lived controversy hit the media headlines when Raila Odinga repeated the facts as we had stated them, and this time around the Treasury called a late-night press conference to deny what is actually true. Kenya’s Government has been making payments to Austrian and Belgian banks for Ken Ren Fertiliser as a result of an award against the Government in international arbitration; and worse the Treasury has kept this secret from Parliament for years.

The Public Accounts Committee now says that  next week it shall summon the Attorney General, the Head of the Public Service and the Treasury mandarins because they want an explanation as to how this liability came into being; and why Parliament was not explicitly told about it – even though at least one Member of Parliament actually asked. We hope that the Public Accounts Committee will also take the opportunity to find out from the Permanent Secretary for Finance, Joseph Kinyua, why he denied the truth so vehemently, repeatedly and ultimately pointlessly.

The facts about the infamous Ken Ren Fertiliser factory are well known in Kenya. Three decades ago the country was scammed by a foreign investor, and three decades later Kenyans are still paying the price of inaction against grand corruption and abuse of office. There is no fertilizer factory and Treasury should not be making annual payments to European banks, especially at this time of economic hardship. If ever there was a prime candidate for a declaration of odious debt, it is the Ken Ren Fertiliser Factory.

Despite the passage of the Fiscal Management Act last year, Parliament has yet to wrest accountability out of the Treasury. We think the Public Accounts Committee should use the opportunity of Joseph Kinyua’s damascene admission to renew the June 3rd 2009 request by Hon. Gitobu Imanyara for the immediate tabling of the Statement of Public Debt for the years 2007, 2008 and 2009 so that Kenyans can have proper information on all the borrowing being done by the Government of Kenya. The Treasury has claimed that the document sought is voluminous which is not true. Mars Group Kenya obtained the same for several years in 2007 from the Permanent Secretary for Finance, through the Head of Debt Management at the Treasury and it was submitted by letter in an official A4 envelope. Parliament must have these vital documents in order to fulfil its representative function in querying odious debts such as Ken Ren Fertiliser Factory in the National Budget. And don’t let them fob you off with the bogus summaries they are publishing on the Treasury website – if you were to rely on these you would never know that Treasury is making payments for Ken Ren Fertiliser; would you? No, what you need is a document which tells you the Lender, Purpose, Rate of Interest, Amount Outstanding at 30th June last year, Amount Repaid to 30th June this year, Amount Outstanding at 30th June this year and details of the Terms of Repayment.

To the Public Accounts Committee; congratulations on extracting the truth from Treasury about Ken Ren Fertiliser.   Someone should take political responsibility for this mess.  We would suggest that now that you have Joseph Kinyua on the ropes, demand that he supply you with a Statement of Public Debt for 2007-2009 before his Minister tables the National Budget on June 10th. Ensure he reveals the pending Anglo Leasing type settlements for Project Nexus and the Navy Ship, and don’t forget to ask him what happened to the Independent Forensic Audit that Parliament ordered on May 13th last year after it was discovered that there was a Ksh 10.7 billion shilling discrepancy in the Supplementary Budget! He may even tell you how much he spent on the press adverts since 2006 denying that any payments would ever be made on Anglo Leasing.

Our original report on Ken Ren, transcripts and related videos are available online here

Mwalimu Mati

Government can never get broke, its people like you and me who can get broke,” Joseph Kinyua, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Republic of Kenya, March 10th 2009

An Appeal to the Citizens of the Republic of Kenya: It is Your Patriotic Civic Duty to Register to Vote – by Jayne and Mwalimu Mati

AN APPEAL TO THE CITIZENS OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA: It is your patriotic civic duty to register to vote – by Jayne and Mwalimu Mati

Fellow Citizens of Kenya,

We write to appeal to you, our brothers and sisters, to register to vote for the new proposed Constitution of Kenya at the referendum and for the leaders of your choice at the next general election.

We, like most of you, were born into an independent Kenya and into a constitution that states that Kenya is a democracy, but sadly, we have lived under bad governance and corruption for all our lives.

We write also as parents of two children because we believe that it is our duty as responsible citizens to encourage fellow Kenyans to foster a democratic environment that will create opportunities for our children and all the children of Kenya.

Every patriotic Kenyan citizen shares the responsibility for civic awareness, and civic duty. This is not the work of the media, faith groups, political parties or non-governmental organizations alone.  Every citizen shares the responsibility of working together to foster democracy for the good of our country. At all times citizens must act in the interest of fellow Citizens, because by doing so, we guarantee our own individual and collective interests. Democracy involves providing opportunities for all citizens without discrimination, which also means making decisions for our children who cannot vote until they attain the legal age of 18 years. We have a Constitutional and moral obligation to each other as citizens to make the best decisions on behalf of those who are young Kenyans below the age of 18 years. Every Kenyan Citizen over the age of 18 years (eligible to vote) must register to vote for the new proposed Constitution of Kenya at the referendum and for the leaders of their choice at the next general election.  And every Citizen must encourage their fellow citizens starting at home and at work to do the same.

Your Vote is your democratic and Constitutional right. Our votes allow us as citizens to do certain things or make sure that certain things are done for the benefit of all. It is only with your vote, that you can ensure that we have a “Constitution and government of the Kenyan people, by the Kenyan people, for the Kenyan people.” As Citizens of Kenya, we must play an informed role in the governance of our country. We must empower ourselves by registering to vote, because, it is only through the ballot, that we will make effective decisions about how and who we choose to govern on our behalf. It is only through the ballot that we will get a new Constitution for our country. It is only through the ballot that we will get a lawfully elected Government that will carry out the will of the Kenyan people.

As Citizens of Kenya, we all live together in our country. We therefore need to agree on how to run the affairs of our country. This agreement on how to run our country takes the form of a Constitution of Kenya. This agreement – a set of rules, agreed on by us as citizens binds all persons and is the supreme Law of the Republic. Our current Constitution says that all sovereign power in Kenya belongs to the Citizens of Kenya, and that we exercise this power through the Constitution of the Republic of Kenya. The current Constitution declares the Rights of the Individual citizen and makes the state responsible for guaranteeing those rights.  But our current Constitution needs improvement to undo decades of amendments that weakened our democracy and created opportunities to destroy protective mechanisms and checks and balances.  Past Presidents and Parliaments did this.

We are soon to vote on a new set of rules in the proposed new constitution – how we as citizens want to live with each other and how we want to exercise our sovereign power. Let us make that decision together, as responsible Kenyans who love our country. Voting for the proposed new constitution can be the beginning of a new true democratic era, where we vote and also get involved. Where we say that from now, we, as citizens will share the job of governing our country.

The Proposed new Constitution lays a better foundation for good governance than the current one, which since 1964 has been amended to the benefit of the Presidents of Kenya and their cohorts.  The Proposed new Constitution declares that Kenya is a Sovereign Republic which is founded on Principles of Good Governance through multi party democracy, participatory governance, transparency and accountability, separation and devolution of powers, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the Rule of Law. This is how we as citizens of Kenya want to run our country.

The Proposed new Constitution recognizes that all Kenyans are born equal. That Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of Kenyans Citizens are given by God, and not by the State. That Kenyans have Human Rights because Kenyans are human beings. That protection of Human Rights and fundamental freedoms in the Constitution is because these rights are inalienable and cannot be taken away from us by anyone. And that Kenyans who occupy positions of power are subject to controls, checks and balances to ensure that they do not abuse their fellow citizens’ rights, as has been the case to date.  We as Kenyan Citizens must be ready to defend these rights at any cost.

The Proposed new Constitution in our opinion, strives to achieve the goals of a democratic society; the greatest possible freedom for all Kenyans; A just society; the same rules for all Kenyans; Equality before the law; Respect for the rule of law; and Equal opportunities for all Kenyans.

The Proposed new Constitution has addressed the equitable sharing, distribution, and allocation of public resources for development among all citizens. Kenyan citizens can get rich legally. Kenyans will have the right to: Fair and favourable conditions of work; Equal pay for work of equal value; the right to form and belong to a trade union; and the right to enjoy social security. The Proposed new Constitution has constitutionalised proper fiscal management of public funds and facilitates punishment of those who steal public funds. It deals with corruption firmly.

The Proposed new Constitution has effectively dealt with checks and balances by providing for independent arms of Government and in particular has dealt extensively with an independent Judiciary.

The Proposed new Constitution guarantees in an elaborate enhanced Bill of Fundamental Rights; the right to life, the right to personal freedom, Protection against slavery and forced labour, Protection from inhuman treatment, Protection from property being taken away illegally, Protection against an illegal search or entry, the right to the protection of the law, Freedom of conscience, Freedom of expression, Freedom of association and assembly, Freedom of movement, Freedom from discrimination, the right to participate in political activity without restriction, the right to hold your own views and talk about what you think and believe, the right to relate and socialize, and to move freely without obstruction. It also guarantees political, economic, social and cultural rights.

Over the 20 or more years that Kenyans have fought and even died trying to get a new Constitution, the views of millions of Kenyans have been collected. The Constitution of Kenya Review Commission reported these views in 2002. Summarized Kenyans said:

1. Give us the chance to live a decent life: with our fundamental needs of food, water, clothing, shelter, security and basic education met by our own efforts and the assistance of government.

2. We want a fair system of access to land for the future and justice for the wrongs of the past

3. Let us have more control over the decisions that affect our lives, bring government closer to us – and let us understand better the decisions we can’t make ourselves but which affect us deeply

4. We don’t want power concentrated in the hands of one person

5. We want our MPs to work hard, respect us and our views – and we want the power to kick them out if they don’t

6. We want to be able to choose leaders who have qualities of intelligence, integrity and sensitivity that make them worthy to lead us.

7. We want an end to corruption

8. We want police who respect citizens – so they can be respected by them

9. We want women to have equal rights and gender equity

10. We want children to have a future worth looking forward to – including orphans and street children

11. We want respect and decent treatment for the disabled.

12. We want all communities to be respected and free to observe their cultures and beliefs

13. We assert our rights to hold all sections of our government accountable – and we want honest and accessible institutions to ensure this accountability

It is our humble opinion that the Proposed new Constitution has captured our views and that we must therefore vote in large numbers at the referendum to ensure that it is enacted so that we can secure a brighter future for our children. We must also remember that even with the passing of a new constitution, the rules will bind us all. That no one is above the law; this basically means that all Kenyans are equal before the law and are subject to it. Any Kenyan who makes choices has to make them according to the say so of the law. The new Constitution will only make a difference in our lives if we adhere to the rule of law.

To ensure that the rule of law is respected in Kenya is our civic duty; and the responsibility ultimately lies with the citizens of Kenya. We write to you as fellow patriotic Kenyan citizens who love our country.

Most Sincerely,

Jayne & Mwalimu Mati

Mars Group Kenya

United Kingdom Freezes Kshs 2.3 Billion Education Aid to Government of Kenya: We Have a Responsibility to Uk Taxpayers to Ensure Their Money is Spent on Its Intended Purpose – Just As the Government of Kenya Has a Similar Responsibility to Its Taxpayers, and to All Kenyan Parents and School Children

UNITED KINGDOM FREEZES KSHS 2.3 BILLION EDUCATION AID TO GOVERNMENT OF KENYA:  We have a responsibility to UK taxpayers to ensure their money is spent on its intended purpose – just as the Government of Kenya has a similar responsibility to its taxpayers, and to all Kenyan parents and school children

The children of Kenya though, will not lose vital education support because of massive fraud in the Ministry of Education.

Speaking in Nairobi on Tuesday 16th march 2010, while announcing that the Kenyan Government will no longer receive UK funds for Education sector programming Alistair Fernie, Head of the Department for International Development (DFID) Kenya office said “to pull out of education completely, as some have suggested we do, would only harm Kenyan schoolchildren. Their education – as future Kenyan citizens – is crucial so they can get jobs, secure livelihoods, and hold their Government to account. So we will continue to support education in other ways until we can resume funding through Government. We aim to spend around the same amount in 2010/11 as we had planned (£20m – 2.3 billion KSh) before the fraud. We will remain focused on improving the quality of and access to education in Kenya. And we will continue to help more children, particularly those in disadvantaged areas, to get the classrooms and textbooks they need. In the longer term, we are open to resuming funding through Government if financial management is sufficiently improved.”

The Kenyan Government will not have any role to play in the disbursement of UK education support funds until it conducts credible investigations and audits of education sector funding.  The UK planned to provide funding for education programming in Kenya amounting to Ksh 2.3 billion for the financial year starting June 2010, but “does not believe the Government has yet done enough to address the risks of fraud to justify a resumption of its funding.”

Following today’s announcement, DFID’s remaining £5 million for KESSP and £5m for improving water/sanitation for the poorest schools, scheduled to be disbursed by the end of March 2010, will not be spent. Any resumption of funding to KESSP will need new approval by DFID Ministers.

We are very disappointed that we have had to take the decision to stop direct funding through the Ministry of Education” said Alistair Fernie, Head of the Department for International Development (DFID) Nairobi office. “The Government has made some progress with conditions for resumption of donor funding, but these benchmarks have not been fully met. We do not have confidence that the necessary systems have been put in place to ensure that this does not happen again. And until we do, we cannot fund through the Government. We have a responsibility to UK taxpayers to ensure their money is spent on its intended purpose – just as the Government of Kenya has a similar responsibility to its taxpayers, and to all Kenyan parents and school children.”

DFID will now focus on supporting the education of Kenyan children through spending its £20 million budget for education for 2010/2011 initially outside of Government channels. Details are being worked up. Possible elements include continuing to provide support directly to schools through the form of grants for orphans and vulnerable children, infrastructure and textbooks, particularly for those in disadvantaged areas. DFID is also exploring options to improve accountability and oversight of resources at the local level – getting parents, teachers and the wider community involved in ensuring funds are spent correctly.

Though other UK aid to Kenya has not been affected, the statement is definitely a big blow to the credibility of the Kenyan Government, currently embroiled in a series of grand corruption scandals in the education, agricultural, local government and oil sectors.  Nairobi hoped that investigations and prosecutions of civil servants, commenced on the instructions of the Kenyan President, would have convinced the UK, Kenya’s second largest bi-lateral partner, to reverse DFID’s suspension of support to the Ministry of Education’s Kenya Education Sector Support Programme announced late last year following the discovery of widespread fraud in the Ministry of Education by the Ministry of Finance’s Internal Audit Department (IAD) in September 2009.  This suspension will now stand “until the risks of fraud are substantially reduced”.

The education fraud uncovered so far is based only on an audit of the Ministry of Education accounts for one month (June 2009). Now demands for a clearer picture from the Kenyan Government of the extent of the problem – and not just in the education sector are being made.

As Rob Macaire, British High Commissioner, puts it “Recently we have witnessed major corruption scandals in the maize, education, oil and local government sectors. All these scandals directly impact on the lives of Kenyan people, stealing funds that were meant for development for all Kenyans and which Kenyan taxpayers largely provide. Recent instruction from the President and Prime Minister to all senior civil servants give some hope that Kenya is finally willing to tackle such theft. But there needs to be a sea-change in attitudes. The Government has the opportunity now to show it is serious in tackling corruption, not just in education but across all sectors, and back up its words with action. To stamp out the theft of public money, this action must include ensuring all those who steal are held accountable, including through prosecutions. And not just those with their hands in the till – those who are responsible for preventing such fraud and who fail to act should also be held to account. The wider Kenyan public has a role to play too in continuing to demand greater accountability and rejecting corruption at all levels of society. We will support those within Government and outside of it who are genuinely trying to bring about that change.”

The Kenyan public is also unconvinced that enough has been done to punish corruption, and has taken to demanding that Ministers and politicians take political responsibility; but this is an alien concept in Kenya’s political class.  A case in point involves the demands for resignation of the Education Minister Prof. Sam Ongeri who is adamant that the scam has no implications on his stay in office.  Ongeri, a key Kibaki ally, was personally reinstated by President Kibaki following his “suspension” by Prime Minister Raila Odinga in February.

This story will run and run as most corruption scandals in Kenya usually do.

Facts on UK aid to Kenya’s Education Sector:

  • The UK, through its Department for International Development (DFID), is Kenya’s second biggest bilateral donor, with an aid budget in 20010/11 of £81 m (Kshs 9.3 billion). But only about 10% of this aid goes through the Government of Kenya, because of concerns about financial accountability.
  • Before the suspension of its funding, DFID had disbursed £45 million to KESSP towards teaching and learning materials, enhancing teachers’ skills, provide 11,880 new and rehabilitated primary school classrooms, enhance water and sanitation facilities and helped develop a national HIV/AIDS prevention programme for upper primary schools.
  • The UK was one of 4 partners (World Bank, Canada and UNICEF) who had been providing ‘pooled’ funding directly through the Government of Kenya to the Kenya Education Sector Support Programme (KESSP). DFID announced support of £55 million (~ 7 billion Kshs) over 5 years (2005 – 2010) to KESSP. This included £50 million direct to KESSP and £5 million for technical assistance managed by DFID. An additional grant of £5 million was agreed in 2009 to specifically target improving water/sanitation facilities for the poorest schools. No funding has been disbursed since the Kenyan Government announced discovery of fraud in September 2009.
  • The total estimated loss from the KESSP pool at this stage is Ksh 230 million.
  • The criteria that donors told Government they had to meet before resumption of donor funding for KESSP could be considered were:

(1) A full and complete audit report must be released to pooling partners satisfactorily addressing all of the issues raised in a fiduciary review of 9 October and including all supporting documentation. To date the Government has not validated all of the allegations in the fiduciary review.

(2) Officials found by the audit to have committed fraud must be appropriately sanctioned and their cases passed to the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) for criminal investigation and prosecution if found to have broken the law. Action is being taken against some Ministry of Education headquarters staff.

(3) All funds lost through fraud to be reimbursed to the contributors to the pooled fund on a pro rata basis. This has not been done.

(4) The Ministry of Education must provide evidence of suitable progress against an action plan agreed by all pooling partners for strengthening financial management. An action plan to strengthen financial management has been drafted but the Government has not yet taken all the actions required to reassure that fraud will not happen again.

It is Not Constitutional for the National Assembly to Convene “kamukunji” Sessions in Naivasha; Members of Parliament Are Paid to Debate the New Constitution in Parliament

It is not constitutional for the National Assembly to convene “Kamukunji” sessions in Naivasha; Members of Parliament are paid to debate the new Constitution in Parliament

It is not constitutional for the National Assembly to convene “Kamukunji” sessions in Naivasha, when the matters under consideration relate to constitutional legislation which according to law and tradition should be conducted in public in the Chamber, using the procedure required in the Standing Orders of Parliament and recorded by Hansard for future reference. In Kenyan parlance a Kamukunji is a gathering of a political nature in an informal setting. The Naivasha “Kamukunji” sessions, to familiarize Members of Parliament on the new constitution are unlawful and contemptuous of the Public that elect Members of Parliament. Why?

Well, nowhere in the Constitution of Kenya nor in the Standing Orders of Parliament does the body known as Kamukunji appear to be even remotely authorized to process legislation. There is no such stage of legislation or the Constitutional process making known as the Kamukunji stage.

Whereas the deliberations of the National Assembly are largely public, all the deliberations of Kamukunji appear to take place behind closed doors and in secret. Not even the accredited parliamentary press is allowed to observe these sessions even though the facilities used are paid for at public expense.

The Kamukunji is not described in the Constitution or the Standing Orders, where it is not listed as one of the Committees of the National Assembly. Although it is not a lawful legislative body, it seems the “Kamukunji” sessions in Naivasha are being planned by some Members of Parliament to masquerade as the National Assembly of the Republic of Kenya; The purpose is to make deals on the proposed new Constitution before Members of the National Assembly enter the actual chamber to vote on the new Constitution.

Here’s the question: In view of the Constitution, and the Standing Orders of the National Assembly, is this legal?

Contempt for public opinion is one thing, but abusing law making powers to make personal or party deals is quite another. We all watch Parliament in live broadcasts. We know that very few parliamentarians attend debate in the house. What parliamentary business would interest our Members of Parliament to attend in such large numbers as planned  in Naivasha? Is the business planned in our best interests? And worse, Kenyans will have to pay for these illegal secret sessions even though they already pay the same Members of Parliament to debate in Parliament.

Perhaps we ought to all pause and consider that there is something extremely fishy going on here.  We support the members of Parliament who reject the motion of adjournment.  Members of Parliament should debate the new Constitution in Parliament, where Kenyans can watch and hansard can be recorded for posterity.

Mr. Dominique Strauss-kahn, Kenyans Do Not Want Imf Medicine. It is Time to Kick the Imf out of Kenya.

Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Kenyans do not want  IMF medicine. It is time to kick the IMF out of Kenya.

“ while corruption is a problem we all share, here in Kenya it is a crisis – a crisis that’s robbing an honest people of the opportunities they have fought for – the opportunity they deserve.” US President Barack Obama, speaking four years ago in Nairobi when he was he junior Senator for Illinois

It was the same room – the Taifa Hall – where Barack Obama spoke –  the same kind of audience – invited guests of the Chancellor of the Nairobi University and the same lamentation – bad governance and corruption are defeating development objectives in Kenya.  The guest of honour, Dominique Strauss-Kahn Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund made a keynote speech broadcast live at which he spoke to Africa – predicting economic growth.  Perhaps to be polite he made little mention of Kenyan corruption scandals, which raged in the days before and even after his speech; but Raila Odinga Kenya’s Prime Minister was not so diffident at the same podium.  He said that only the people of Africa will develop Africa. According to the Prime Minister, what has kept Africa where it is; is bad governance, corruption and dictatorships. The Prime minister was categorical that the problem in Kenya is corruption, saying that we must deal a blow to corruption in order to move forward.

In the papers the next day reportage was cheerful and optimistic but ironically the elephant in the room, which Strauss Kahn ignored, was the impunity and lack of accountability of the Kenyan Finance Ministry that the IMF works very closely with.  The Minister of Finance presented a budget, which did not factor in reform agenda spending; and bizarrely failed to fund the constitutional referendum, which was identified as key to stability in Kenya that the IMF is pinning its growth hopes on.

For 65 years, the IMF has loaned billions of dollars to Third World governments without adequate public oversight and in the absence of market discipline. In Kenya, the Government started borrowing from the IMF in 1964. The loans from the IMF to Kenya have financed dictatorships, spawned corruption, harmed the environment, wrecked our economy, and then forced the Kenyan public hostage to pay the money back. In law, these debts are known as “odious”.

Today, Kenya owes 62.7% of its external public debt to the IMF and the World Bank. Poor Kenyans will spend over 24% of its entire budget paying back debt redemption and interest. Yet, this year not a single tax shilling will go to the development budget.

Kenya has very little to show for IMF and World Bank debts. Re-payments are in effect “shark fees” paid for funds that have long since vanished and the present value of the debt is even higher. Servicing huge unproductive debts drains the funds needed for education, health care and development. Kenyans have borrowed over 11 Billions for railway projects, but not a single inch of track has been built since Independence. Most of the debts owed by Kenyans are for services and goods that Kenyans have never received. Today 80% of Kenyans live on less than two dollars a day meanwhile the IMF and World Bank continue to loan billions of dollars to Kenyan corrupt leaders with nothing to show for it.

It was shocking to see the Managing Director of the IMF, Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn arrive in Nairobi with some more goodies. The IMF Chief says now the IMF wants to lend African Countries with Zero interest. Which Bank in the world lends without interest? And why? Is the IMF a charitable organization? In his high-powered speech Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn was able to tell Kenyans without batting an eyelid that in most African countries, one can lose a child because of poverty, unless of course, the IMF intervenes. Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn did not tell attentive Kenyans what role the IMF has played over the last 46 years to impoverish them to the extent that a Kenyan can lose a child over poverty.

The IMF is an organisation tasked with the mission of fostering free trade and global prosperity. The IMF has grown so that today with 155 countries it has the authority of being both regulator and overseer of the global economy. This power is so extensive that countries must join the IMF to be eligible for World Bank membership.

The IMF performs three main activities:

• monitoring national, global, and regional economic and financial developments and advising member countries on their economic policies;

• lending members hard currencies to support policy programs designed to correct balance of payments problems; and

• offering technical assistance in its areas of expertise, as well as training for government and central bank officials.

In Kenya, if the IMF actually performs these three activities, and if one were to honestly grade the performance of the IMF, it would be fair to award an F grade. Why? Because when Kenya joined the IMF, it agreed as required, to subject its economic and financial policies to the scrutiny of the IMF as well as the international community. Kenya made a commitment to pursue policies that are conducive to orderly economic growth and reasonable price stability as well as providing the IMF with data on its economy. The IMF’s regular monitoring of economies and associated provision of policy advice (surveillance) was intended to identify weaknesses that are causing or could lead to trouble in Kenya.

Has the IMF surveillance helped Kenya? Is grand corruption not now a terminal cancer that has become malignant spreading to institutions such as the treasury and the Ministry of Finance where the IMF sets up office? Is it not the IMF that gives budget technical & capacity building support to the same treasury that keeps writing bogus budgets? Is it not the IMF that keeps lending money to a corrupt Government that refuses to account to Parliament? Treasury and the Ministry of finance have to date refused to submit to an independent forensic audit into the National Budget for the last three years as ordered by Parliament. Treasury and the Ministry of Finance have refused to table in Parliament, the External Public debt register for Scrutiny. Is this the training being provided by the IMF, or is the IMF condoning corruption of those they purport to oversee?

Kenyan Citizens are now street smart and are very aware of the IMF bogus strategy for Kenya. The IMF should stop telling us what to do and what we should change. Instead, the IMF should start listening to Kenyan citizens when they tell the IMF what approach it should take to make the Kenya Government accountable and transparent to its citizenry. Kenyans do not want or need IMF money. IMF money will not lift poor Kenyans out of poverty. In truth the IMF is costing us dearly.

We reiterate the contents of our two letters to the IMF, managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn with an extra proviso, that its time for the IMF to leave Kenya.

Letter dated June 2nd 2009: IMF’s ODIOUS LOANS ARE IMPOVERISHING KENYA THROUGH COLLUSION WITH CORRUPT AGENT

Letter dated 30th March 2009: LOAN REQUEST BY THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA FOR ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS

Diplomacy is one thing, but economic reality is surely another. The Kenyan Treasury is in need of a big stick approach by international partners and the messaging of Mr. Strauss Kahn was totally off mark. The Kenyan Treasury’s claims that it wants to work with civil society and the private sector are platitudes meant to deceive – Treasury won’t even work with Parliament the representatives of the people.

Does the Treasury Know How Many Cars the Government of Kenya Owns? Parliament Certainly Does Not Know and It is Possible to Deduce That There May Be a Serious Problem

Does the treasury know how many cars the Government of Kenya owns?

How many cars does the Government own?  No one knows but it is possible to deduce that there may be a serious problem.

According to the Approved budget for the financial year 2007/2008 the total number of vehicles owned by the Government of Kenya was 10,589.  This is the last publicly known figure of how many vehicles belong to the Government of Kenya.  The following year, Schedule V which records the motor vehicle establishment was mysteriously removed from the budget and has never reappeared in all the budgets since.

The total number of drivers employed by the Government of Kenya according to the budget presented to Parliament by Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta last June is 4,206. We can therefore assume that the Government of Kenya owns about 4,206 cars as it would be irrational to have more cars than drivers.  Or is it possible that 6383 cars are self-driven by public officials?  Could they have been sold?  Probably not if one considers that the money reported by the Treasury to have been received from the sale of motor vehicles between 2008-2010 amounts to only Kshs 35,421,721.

What we’d like MPs to ask treasury before the next supplementary and national budget is why there are no drivers for the other 6383 cars?  Additionally they should ask why Schedule V is no longer being presented to them so that they can inform themselves on how many cars the Government actually has before being asked to approve fuel, maintenance, and overhaul and motor vehicle purchase budgets.  The amounts involved are staggering.  Parliament approved Kshs 5.4 Billion for the purchase of new motor vehicles for the financial years 2008/2009 and 2009/2010; and a total of Kshs 8.013

Billion in motor vehicle related expenditure for this financial year. When Parliament did this, MPs had no idea and still do not know how many cars the Government owns.

But surely treasury knows the number of cars that Government owns, otherwise how did they plan the budget for fuel, maintenance, overhaul etc. We take bets that treasury has no clue either.

It is important to clear these sorts of anomalies up. There are many. Parliament unanimously ordered an independent Forensic Audit into the National Budget going back three years. This Audit is yet to begin 8 months later. Kenyans want the forensic audit ordered by Parliament to commence immediately so that we know our true financial position and not continue to operate in ignorance as Treasury is keeping us.

What Constitutional Crisis? Ignore the Attorney General Kenyans, Demand Your Right to Vote the Government out

WHAT CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS?

IGNORE THE ATTORNEY GENERAL KENYANS, DEMAND YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE THE GOVERNMENT OUT

The Attorney General, Amos Wako, says the stand-off between Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki over cabinet ministers’ discipline could lead to a constitutional crisis and precipitate early elections. Ignore him dear Kenyans, he’s just trying to scare the political class straight and to get them to see their common interest in perpetuation of the Grand Coalition status quo.

The legal opinion of the Chief Legal Advisor to the Government of Kenya is weighty but incomplete. The context is missing, and those who would vote in such early elections are not whom Amos Wako is concerned about. Opinion polls show that levels of public support and satisfaction with the Grand Coalition are at an all time low. An early election is actually what many Kenyans want. Kenyans are fed up with the quarrelling, crooked, bloated government that resulted from the National Accord and are ready to vote the bums out from Presidential to parliamentary levels.

The Government, which Amos Wako works so loyally for, has failed to re-enfranchise Kenyans with their vote. The voters register was nullified by amendments to the Constitution in 2008 and the new interim election commission has done nothing to start the registration process since it was formally established in 2009. The only Kenyans who have valid voter’s cards are in Shinyalu and Bomachoge constituencies; and they number less than 100,000 out of the 15 million who should be able to vote. The old voter’s cards that so many Kenyans still keep safe at home, just in case, may as well be burnt as they are of no use to us anymore because Parliament invalidated them. You can’t vote with the old cards; but Amos Wako has never mentioned that, has he?

As things stand in February 2010, all but 100,000 Kenyans cannot vote because we do not have a national voters register. Instead of dwelling on conflict potentiality in the Draft Constitution, or even endlessly debating about whom between Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga should discipline the many rotten Ministers within the largest most corrupt cabinet in Kenyan history, Kenyans should be agitating for their existing constitutional right to vote to be immediately returned to them. And the Attorney General if is he is an honest legal advisor should be telling the political class that it has no option but to ensure immediate and comprehensive national voter registration to avoid the ultimate constitutional crisis – the collapse of the Grand Coalition Government without a voter’s register – and to provide a basis for the democratic replacement of the Grand Coalition Government which Kenyans no longer want.

With no voting mechanisms in place we are on a daily basis courting disaster as warlords reorganise themselves for the next shot at power – without a ballot. And all because we Kenyans have failed to demand the implementation of the National Accord to the letter and have started attending political rallies like sheep in ever increasing numbers to support the same tired politicians who took us to the brink of a precipice in 2007. Wake up Kenyans, you cannot guarantee, and really have no stake in, the outcome of this game between Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki. You can’t win or break even – you must get out of the game. This is not a constitutional crisis for ordinary Kenyans, it is a great opportunity for us to demand the right to vote and secure our democratic freedom of choice. We should ignore Amos Wako’s scare tactics; he’s only trying to maintain the status quo he benefits from, a status quo in which Mwai Kibaki is even claimed to be eligible for a third term; or is it second term? Was Mwai Kibaki elected in the 2007 presidential election?

Kenyans must have greater ambitions for their future than the tired leadership which Amos Wako, using sophistry, defends, and if we get the voter registration process completed as soon as possible we will be ready to elect a lean, clean, honest Government for the Republic of Kenya. Keep the faith, change is coming.

Mwalimu Mati 16th February 2010