Deputy presidential debate: Fact checking Martha Karua and Rigathi Gachagua

Four candidates for the position of Deputy President met in a face-to-face debate on July 19 2022. The Kenya Editors Guild Fact-Checking desk looked into whether their claims were inaccurate.

Here are the first of our fact-checks:

Azimio-One Kenya Alliance presidential running mate Martha Karua at the deputy presidential debate at CUEA on July 19, 2022. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

“The expenditure on operations and maintenance, O+M is over Sh600 billion while salaries are at about 550. You can see operations and maintenance overshooting salaries.” - Martha Karua

By Victor Mboya

According to the controller of budget, “operations and maintenance” refers to recurrent expenditure that includes travel (both domestic and foreign), printing and advertising, rentals and rates, non-residential training, hospitality, maintenance expenses for motor vehicles and other assets, legal fees and other expenses.

This expenditure is available for both the national government and the county governments for the 2021 financial year on the website of the controller of budget.

For the 2020/2021 financial year, which is the latest full financial year available, operations and maintenance stood at Sh324.6 billion, while salaries were at KSh665 billion. Karua’s claim of 600 billion overstates the amount spent on operations and maintenance by about 275 billion. Her claim of Sh550 billion understates salaries by about Sh115 billion.


Martha Karua's citation of social-economic rights is incorrect

“…our constitution dictates that we adopt a social economic market economy, where social justice is at the forefront. That is why article 57 ... article 46 not 47 talks of social economic rights…” Martha Karua.

By Victor Mboya

Article 46 of the Kenyan constitution states:

“to defend, promote, develop and pursue consumer rights as guided by Article 46 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010, the Consumer Protection Act, 2012 and the Competition Act, Cap 504 and make it possible for the consumers to get value for money.”

Social economic rights

Bill of Rights in the Kenyan constitution provides for the enjoyment of economic and social rights under Article 43 on six sectors which include health, adequate food and of acceptable quality, housing, clean and safe water, social security and education.

Karua’s claim is inaccurate.

UDA presidential running mate Rigathi Gachagua at the deputy presidential debate at CUEA on July 19, 2022. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

“We are inheriting 6 million young people who have no jobs.”  - Rigathi Gachagua

By Eunice Omollo

Dr Jacob Omolo, a senior lecturer in the Department of Applied Economics at Kenyatta University, said the number quoted by Gachagua is larger than the actual situation.

“Whether we use the labour force cohorts of a youth that is 15-34 years or the constitutional definition of a youth from the age of 18, the number is way less than what he claimed.”

He added, “The data from the 2019 Kenya population and housing census puts the total number of unemployed irrespective of age at 2.7 million. Even with whatever growth rate in the country, there is no way we could hit 6 million unemployed youth.”

Gachagua’s claim is inaccurate.