I won’t beg for my retirement package, says furious Raila
He criticised President Uhuru Kenyatta for not signing a Bill that would have seen him and former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka enjoy their pension, saying retired leaders should get the money for services they rendered even if they are still active in politics.
The former premier said the government was applying double standards on the issue, noting that there are retired civil servants who have been given jobs in the same government even after retirement. “I deserve to be given the retirement package. We have civil servants who had retired and are now back in government, why should Raila Odinga be denied what is rightfully his?“ he asked.
He gave an example of Tanzania where former Prime Minister Fredrick Somaye, who served between 1995 and 2005, is on full retirement package yet he will be seeking a CCM ticket to run for the presidency.
“He is getting a full package and even uses the VIP pavilion when he passes through JKIA which they deny me and demand that I use the MPs lounge. This is unfair,“ said Raila.
He disagreed with the President‘s demand that they quit politics before enjoying the package because it is not a requirement in any law.
The Opposition leader wondered why retired civil servants are hired on contract and paid salary and gratuity while at the same time earning their pension. “They are being so personal. At President Uhuru Kenyatta‘s age, do you think he will retire from active politics after retirement?“ asked Raila.
Since it is not a requirement even in the UK, US and other developed countries that one retires from politics to get his retirement package, Raila reads politics in the President‘s action. “So why should you revoke my retirement benefits being paid for the services I rendered?“ he asked.
Yesterday, it was reported that Uhuru declined to sign into law the retirement package Bill after wide consultation. The law would have granted Raila a lump sum of Sh21.6 million and a monthly package of Sh960,000. Kalonzo could have taken home Sh19.8 million in one tranche then earn Sh880,000 in monthly pay.
They could also have had cars at their disposal, staff and VIP protection all paid for by the government.
In a brief ceremony at State House, Nairobi attended by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, Majority Leader Aden Duale and Clerk of the National Assembly Justin Bundi, the President refused to sign into law the Retirement Benefits (Deputy President and Designated State Officers) Bill. Speaking at Emukokho village in Butere constituency during the burial of Chief David Nambwaya, Raila, however, said he would not beg. “I am not ready to beg or kneel down before anyone and I will not retire from politics. I will continue advocating for Kenyans’ welfare and when they feel ready to sign the Bill, let them do so,“ Raila said.
The CORD leader asked the government to channel its energy on pertinent issues like security. “Yesterday, we visited Baringo and it clearly showed the government had failed. People have been displaced as a result of cattle rustling. Insecurity is alarming and the government should concentrate on addressing such issues,“ Raila told mourners who cheered him.
He faulted the defence department for not being accountable for their budgets and asked MPs not to sign a Bill to increase security docket allocation. Raila also criticised at the government over its reluctance to dialogue with the opposition.
“Jubilee should brace itself for the ‘tsunami’ that is coming. The economy of the county is in a bad state and there is insecurity. Okoa Kenya is not relenting and it is the only solution that Kenyans have. Last year we asked for dialogue but they rejected it,” added Raila. He continued: “Okoa Kenya will also ensure devolved funds to counties are increased to 45 per cent annually from the current 15 per cent. The health sector must get funds and issues of frequent strikes by doctors should not be witnessed due to delayed salaries‘‘. He said governors should be involved in security matters in their counties. The former PM was accompanied by Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Butere MP Andrew Toboso. Oparanya said he will still support Raila in his 2017 presidential race. „I will still support you (Raila) in 2017. I know my senior brothers are in the race but we need a strong candidate,“ he said.
Earlier on, Raila met ODM delegates across the four counties in Western region including Kakamega, Busia, Vihiga and Bungoma counties who vowed to back his presidential bid in 2017.
peaking to the press after the closed-door deliberations, Eric Wambasi, the ODM Bungoma County chair, said the region would support Okoa Kenya initiative.
“We shall rally all our troupes to support the upcoming referendum which will see Kenyans benefit equally,“ said Wambasi.