President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto spent more than double of their traveling expenditure as they traversed the country between July and December 2017.
The Presidency -- comprising the office of the President and that of the Deputy President -- also doubled its expenditure on receiving and entertaining guests during the campaign period, the latest report by the Controller of Budget shows.
Expenditure on domestic travel by the Presidency increased by a staggering 138 per cent in the first half of 2017/18, with Kenyatta and Ruto’s offices spending Sh432.5 million compared to Sh181.6 million in 2016.
During this period, the two offices spent Sh667 million on hospitality, an increase of 85.5 per cent from Sh360 million spent in 2016/17.
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In the lead up to the August polls, President Kenyatta hosted several delegations from different parts of the country, enraging his opponents in NASA. In her report, European Union’s chief observer in the August and October 2017 elections, Marietje Schaake noted the use of State resources during the campaigns.
“The elections were competitive with on average nearly eight candidates per seat being elected. Campaigning was largely free but marred by politicians’ attacks on State institutions and by the misuse of State resources,” said Ms Schaake in a televised address from Brussels.
Use of state resources, an electoral malpractice, was one of the reasons former Prime Minister Raila Odinga wanted the Supreme Court to overturn Uhuru’s win in the August poll.
In his petition, Raila argued that the Jubilee government breached the electoral code of conduct by dishing out goodies. The Supreme Court, while nullifying Kenyatta’s win in a landmark ruling in September 1, 2017 exonerated the President from wrong-doing.
At one point in October last year, the Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU) was restrained from publishing any adverts on achievements of government.
Justice Chacha Mwita then temporarily stopped PDU through Head of Civil Service James Kinyua, Andrew Wakahiu and Nzioka Waita from publishing the adverts which used to run under the banner of #GOKDelivers on print, electronic media or on billboards.
“An order of permanent injunction is hereby issued restraining the national government... from advertising achievements of any programmes or projects across the country in the last four years during the election period,” said Justice Mwita.
And with political temperatures boiling over and calls for certain regions of the country to break-away from Kenya, expenditure by the country’s spy agency, National Intelligence Service (NIS) went up to Sh17.8 billion in the period compared to Sh12.4 billion in the similar period in 2016/17.
“The highest expenditure category on recurrent expenditure by MDAs in the first half of 2017/18 was personnel emoluments at Sh181.4 billion, representing 37.4 per cent of the gross recurrent expenditure,” read the report.
In total, national government incurred Sh452 billion on recurrent expenditure, up from Sh333.7 billion. This translates to 35.5 per cent increase or Sh118.3 billion.
During this period, the controller of budget observed that total expenditure on domestic travel for various ministries and state departments was Sh3.2 billion while Sh1.28 billion was spent on foreign trips.
The expenditure on foreign trips was a significant reduction from Sh3.35 billion incurred in the half year of 2016/17. This points to less travel outside the country as the presidency marshalled his team for the 2017 elections campaign.
Overall, printing and advertising costs more than doubled from Sh458.4 million in the six months of 2016/17 financial year to Sh1 billion.
The Presidency alone spent Sh18.3 million on printing and advertising. This is about double the expenditure of Sh18.3 million on the same in previous half year 2016/17.
On hospitality, the Agnes Odhiambo-led office notes that overall expenditure was Sh2.63 billion, an increase by about Sh600 million. This is money spent to entertain visitors, conference delegates or other official visitors.
Uhuru’s office saw hospitality expenditure rise to nearly double. In the build up to and after the elections, President was hosting political meetings with leaders drawn from his Jubilee Party at State House.
In October, the President and his Deputy William Ruto hosted a women’s meeting at State House. The thousands of women had been mobilised from the 47 counties to form a grass-roots network for the UhuRuto campaigns.
Back in mid-September last year, Uhuru also hosted more than 5,000 leaders from the greater Central Kenya region at Sagana for a presidential retreat at the foot of Mt Kenya.
But even as expenditure on salaries, allowances and administrative costs increased to Sh452 billion in the period under review, development expenditure declined from Sh202.6 billion to Sh157.1 billion.