Economy

Taxpayers to pay Raila, Kalonzo employees

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ODM leader Raila Odinga. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Budget estimates tabled in Parliament shows the Treasury has allocated Sh19.2 million on salaries and allowances of the permanent staff attached to the opposition chiefs for the year starting July under an expenditure line that is being introduced.
  • Taxpayers will spend Sh10.5 million on salaries and perks of Mr Odinga’s staff working from an office fully furnished by the government while Sh8.7 million has been allocated for Mr Musyoka’s workers.

Taxpayers will for the first time pay salaries and perks of permanent staff attached to former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and retired Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, underlining the burden of keeping former State officials comfortable in retirement.

Budget estimates tabled in Parliament shows the Treasury has allocated Sh19.2 million on salaries and allowances of the permanent staff attached to the opposition chiefs for the year starting July under an expenditure line that is being introduced.

Taxpayers will spend Sh10.5 million on salaries and perks of Mr Odinga’s staff working from an office fully furnished by the government while Sh8.7 million has been allocated for Mr Musyoka’s workers.

Mr Odinga’s staff entitlement include three drivers, a personal assistant, an accountant, two secretaries, two senior support staff, two housekeepers and two garderners in line with the Retirement Benefits (Deputy President and Designated State Officers) Act, 2015.

Mr Musyoka is entitled to two drivers, a personal assistant, one accountant, a secretary, two housekeepers, two senior support staff, two cooks, two gardeners and two cleaners.

Mr Odinga and Mr Kalonzo will also have two security aides each who are normally seconded from the police.

The State eased restrictions on the Opposition leaders’ access to retirement benefits following the peace deal between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Odinga, popularly referred to as "the handshake" of March 2018.

President Kenyatta had in 2015 declined to assent to a bill that would have given Mr Musyoka and Mr Odinga the hefty perks, citing their participation in active politics but softened his stance following the handshake.

The lavish retirement benefits will be extended to Musalia Madavadi, who served briefly as Kenya’s Vice President in 2002.

Moody Awori, who was Vice President between 2003 and 2008, is already enjoying the benefits and taxpayers will spend Sh49.48 million in the year starting July on his office and staff — reflecting the taxpayer burden in the retirement perks.

Mr Odinga’s office and staff will set back taxpayers Sh68.13 million while that of Mr Musyoka has been allocated Sh68.29 million.

According to the Act, the former Prime Minister received a monthly pension equivalent to 80 percent of his last salary, a lumpsum equivalent to 12 months of his last pay, security, medical insurance and a diplomatic passport for himself and spouse.

He is also entitled to two saloon cars and a four-wheel drive vehicle, both of which come with three drivers and a fuel allowance equivalent to 15 percent of the monthly pay of the serving Deputy President.

The vehicles will be replaced after every four years. Taxpayers will cater for their maintenance at dealerships. Mr Musyoka also enjoys similar benefits.

Retired Parliament Speakers are also enjoying comparable benefits.