22 million Kenyans languish in poverty

on Monday, 15 December 2014.

22 million Kenyans languish in poverty

More than 21.5 million Kenyans are languishing in poverty, with Turkana County having the highest number while Kajiado has the lowest.

Nairobi, Kirinyaga, Kiambu and Meru counties are also among those with the least number of people living below the poverty line.

According to the Kenya Economic Report 2014, population is another emerging factor that continues to create havoc in the economy and may soon turn into a crisis, if not controlled.

The number of those who live below the poverty line is on the increase, even as absolute poverty declined slightly between 2009 and 2013.

Although Nyamira County is considered agricultural, the research findings reveal that the county is among the poorest in Kenya, at number 12.

According to the findings by the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (Kippra), counties such as Kitui, Marsabit, Mandera, Samburu, Tana River, Turkana and West Pokot have poverty levels above 70 per cent.

These counties are also characterised by relatively weak infrastructure and poor access to public services.

Read more on Daily Nation

First Lady’s allowances face chop in pay review

on Friday, 12 December 2014.

First Lady’s allowances face chop in pay review

The First Lady, senior officers in the police and in the Judiciary are among the losers in the imminent slashing of allowances paid to public servants.

At the same time, teachers will be big winners as their allowances are increased to match the rates paid to other civil servants, a move meant to assuage their demands for higher pay.

If recommendations by consultants Deloitte and Touche, on behalf of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), are implemented, the government will radically slash from 156 to 45 the different types of allowances public servants claim.

SRC chairperson Sarah Serem, while launching a review of the allowances in the public service, said trimming of the allowances will see the government save Sh125 billion, translating to 25 per cent of the annual wage bill.

Some Sh184 billion was paid in form of allowances to public officers in the last financial year. This will go down to Sh56 billion.

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and other senior officers who have been receiving up to Sh500,000 in responsibility allowance will lose this amount that is set to be scrapped.

“The purpose for this allowance duplicates that of extraneous allowance for the same staff grades. It is recommended that the allowance be abolished from the public service,” the report says.

Extraneous allowances, over and above the basic salary, paid to the police and prisons bosses, medical doctors and officers working in State House, will be abolished.

The allowances are meant for officers whose duties are considered as exposing them to excess physical and mental stress as well as extended and undefined long working hours.

The monthly flat rate for this allowance ranges from a high of Sh60,000 for Prisons Commissioner-General to a low of Sh800 for junior cadres in the civil service.

Officers in higher job groups, who have been enjoying a non-accountable monthly entertainment allowance of up to Sh100,000, will no longer have that privilege. It will be replaced by cards with a ceiling on how much they can spend.

“It is recommended that the allowance be retained as a facilitative allowance and a ceiling be established and chip cards introduced as a control measure,” the report..

Read more on Daily Nation

Uhuru allies in bid to calm DP Ruto fears

on Monday, 15 December 2014.

Uhuru allies in bid to calm DP Ruto fears

Politicians from President Kenyatta’s central Kenya base Sunday trooped to Turbo, the home area of Deputy President William Ruto, in what appeared to be an effort to preserve the ruling coalition.

Some 62 MPs, nine senators and eight governors, representing 25 counties, attended a thanksgiving Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church Turbo, 10km from Mr Ruto’s Sugoi farm.

The big turnout is being seen as an attempt by Mr Kenyatta’s supporters to signal to the Deputy President and his following that he has not been abandoned even though the President’s case in The Hague has collapsed and Mr Ruto’s continues.

The same message was chorused by central Kenya leaders: They will support Mr Ruto if he runs for President in 2022 and in the bid to have his case at the ICC dropped.

The central leaders joined others from Rift Valley and western Kenya.

Rift Valley turned out for Mr Kenyatta in the last elections after he teamed up with Mr Ruto, his running mate. At the time, the two were united by the ICC cases stemming from the 2007/8 post-election violence.

The Kenyatta side of the Jubilee, which would be hard put to survive in government or win the next election without the Ruto side, appeared anxious to reassure Rift Valley that Mr Ruto would not face the ICC alone.

Nakuru Town East MP David Kigaria said: “We will not celebrate (the withdrawal of charges against President Kenyatta) until our (Ruto’s) case is dismissed. We are solidly behind our Rift Valley brothers in this.”

President Kenyatta, last weekend, attended a church service in Embu with Mr Ruto and reassured his deputy that the fight against his case and former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang would Mr Ruto Sunday said he was confident his case too would be dropped even as he denied that he and Mr Kenyatta were brought together by the ICC cases.

Read more on Daily Nation

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