Opinion: Believe it or not, Kenya's broke


Government can never get broke, it's people like you and me who can get broke.
Joseph Kinyua, permanent secretary, Ministry of Finance
Very poor Kenyan people

This bad start for the Grand Coalition has bust the banks less than 12 months after the Cabinet was appointed.

The National Accord was meant to be our salvation. We accepted a hybrid
form of government because we feared for our lives. But that did not
mean we had taken leave of our senses and abandoned our rights.

Among these rights is not to be abused. As taxpayers we finance 95 per
cent of government expenditure. So it is sad that for a year, the
Treasury has led Kenyans to believe that there were no grounds for
worry about our financial health.

For example, when in November last year, newspapers reported that the
Judiciary was bouncing cheques, there was dismissive silence from the

When we pointed out there was exposure to Anglo Leasing-type debts
included in the Budget, the response was to accuse Mars Group of being

And when they appointed the Cabinet in April 2008, the principals
rejected the lean and clean wishes of the people who now have to pay
the price of their folly.

We've done a year without development, even as the displaced remain in
camps and 10 million Kenyans face starvation. We can't afford to
continue spending billions on a bloated government. We have better
things to do with our money.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS ASKED donors for billions of shillings to resettle
the displaced, feed the starving and cushion our failing currency.

It's shameful that the government would rather spend our tax money on
pampering politicians than to ameliorate our pathetic living conditions.

Kenya's tax money should be used for the immediate care of the poorest and not the wealthiest Kenyans.

Nearly 20 million Kenyans live on less than a dollar per day. That
means they will have no more to spend than Sh25,000 in a year. These
are the Kenyans we should be spending money on.

We would prefer to spend our tax money on saving the lives of the 480
children who die every day from preventable disease and illnesses.

We would wish that instead of importing T-72 tanks from Ukraine
second-hand we had a government that would import drilling rigs so
the military could provide boreholes for Kenyans in the arid lands that
cover most of the country.

We want bursaries for free primary and secondary education to be a
priority over expense accounts for the government's mandarins.

We want the President to travel in a reasonable convoy and not to have
149 cars at his disposal. We want thrift not free-spending; but we have
always been ignored and accused when we point out the obvious.

The truth is that the Government of Kenya has bust the bank and is now
broke, unable to meet its obligations to its people nor to its
creditors. And there are no windfalls expected.

Since December 2007 economic activity among the population has been
interrupted, the Kenya Revenue Authority is collecting less tax, and
many former taxpayers are struggling to survive.

Kenyan people and companies simply don't have enough to support 93 ministers and assistant ministers.

Mr Mati is the CEO of Mars Group

Post published in: Zimbabwe News

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