Mixed reactions over revelation of Uhuru office being denied funds

Kanze Dena addresses the media on challenges facing the office of former President Uhuru Kenyatta. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Kenyans have expressed mixed reactions over the announcement by former President Uhuru Kenyatta ‘s office that it had been deprived of funds.

In a press statement on Monday, the former president's spokesperson Kanze Dena claimed that constitutional rights of the office had been degraded by the President Willaim Ruto's administration.

"The lack of access to rightful budget allocation has forced the former President Uhuru Kenyatta to run the office from his pocket, paying all the bills the office incurs," Kanze said.

Fathurahman Mohamed, a university student, said that the former president deserves respect from the Kenya Kwanza administration.

“President Uhuru’s rights should be valued because he served his full term and served diligently,” he said adding: “We have to build a country that honours its former Heads of State, that should be our tradition,”

Stacy Mueni, a resident of Kasarani in Nairobi wondered why a former Head of State should be accorded huge perks at a time when some Kenyans are facing tough economic times.

“Is this even a valid debate at this point in time? We are talking of tough times for most families in this country, we loved the former president. He did well and left, while we call for total respect to be accorded, we also ask for reason to prevail,” said Mueni.

“We should think about the poor of this country, we need to mind the millions who sleep hungry every day,” she added.

Melisa Mitchell, a resident of Ngong, said Uhuru was already getting enough perks including monthly allowance and medical cover. She argued that more funds that the former president's office is demanding should instead be put into more constructive use for the betterment of the country.

“It’s akin to rubbing it on the face of Kenyans, we have been told that he received millions in allowances, why should we even think about funding his office, totally misplaced priorities,” said Mitchell.

Sylvia Peruruan, a resident of Kajiado, argued that there was no reason to deny the office of the former Head of State funds.

“It’s been a tradition and we have seen all the other former presidents accorded their perks, it shouldn’t be different with President Uhuru, we need to treat them equally and not allow politics to play out,” said Peruruan.

In the statement by Kanze, out of the Sh1 billion allocated by parliament to the office in the financial years of 2022/2023 and 2023/2024, the office only received Sh28 million.