Why Uhuru blocked Raila and Kalonzo pension pay

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Uhuru sign billPresident Uhuru Kenyatta has declined to assent to a Bill which could have handed Cord leaders Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka millions of shillings in retirement benefits.

Government officials cited the two leaders’ active involvement in politics as the reason for Mr Kenyatta’s refusal to sign the Bill.

Had Mr Kenyatta assented to the Bill, Mr Odinga would have pocketed a lump sum package of Sh21.6 million and a monthly stipend of Sh960,000 for the rest of his life.

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Mr Musyoka would on the other hand have pocketed Sh19.8 million plus a Sh880,000 monthly stipend.

The Bill was passed by the National Assembly last month setting out the retirement benefits for the two plus former Speaker Kenneth Marende.

It was among six Bills that had been submitted to the President for his signature and was one of the three that he rejected.

The other two are the one on Central Bank of Kenya and the Public Procurement Bill.

EYES ON 2017

The news comes only a day after Mr Odinga effectively joined the 2017 presidential race by launching one of his campaign platforms, with his supporters vowing to ensure he captures the seat.

Mr Musyoka has also declared his presidential candidature on a Cord ticket, as has the third principal in the opposition coalition, Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula.

Asked to comment on the President’s decision, Mr Odinga who was on a tour of Baringo County yesterday chose not to respond.

But his allies led by Suba MP John Mbadi, the Bill’s sponsor, blamed it on hardliners within the Jubilee Coalition who have resisted the Bill since 2013. “That to me is pettiness. The President could have done better because that does not go well with his stature as a unifying figure,” said Mr Mbadi.

He said it would be wrong to attempt to limit the right of any Kenyan to participate in elective politics, which is an inalienable right protected by the Constitution.

VICTIMS OF DISCRIMINATION

He said Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka were also victims of discrimination as the law which provides for the benefits enjoyed by retired presidents Mwai Kibaki and Daniel arap Moi does not limit their political activity.

“With the presidency, that (retirement from elective politics) is automatic because after leaving, you wouldn’t go for any other position,” said Mr Mbadi.

Speaking to Saturday Nation yesterday, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi said he had received communication on the Bills assented to and would pass that information to the House when sittings resume on June 8.

Government officials familiar with the President’s thinking on the matter told the Nation the retirement Bill was rejected mainly because it contains no clear definition of what elective politics would be.

The officials, who requested not to be named as State House was yet to comment on the matter, said: “It will have to be redefined properly.

“They should retire like (former United States President Bill) Clinton if they are to get the money. They can engage in politics but cannot hold an elective position.” President Kenyatta is also understood to have desired the inclusion of former Vice President Moody Awori   and former Speaker Francis Ole Kaparo in the Bill.

-nation.co.ke

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