Activist Edwin Kiama, the man behind a poster asking the world to stop lending money to Kenya, has been arrested. Kiama was arrested on Tuesday evening and appeared in court on Wednesday.
According to Boniface Mwangi, Kiama is set to face cybercrime charges. The poster notified the world that President Uhuru Kenyatta was not authorized to act or transact on behalf of Kenyan citizens and future generations should not be held liable for any penalties of ‘bad loans.’
This comes just days after IMF approved a Sh255.1billion facility for Kenya to be repaid with 38 months. Kenya's total public debt reached Sh7.25 trillion at the end of November 2020 and a section of netizens appealed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) board to cancel the loan linking it to runway graft and debt burden in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kenyans united in calling on the IMF not to give in to the government's appetite for borrowing, which has reached high levels after the virus hit the country and the shrinking revenue collection.
The irate citizens camped on the Facebook and Twitter accounts of IMF and even sponsored an online petition, directing the financial institution to cease lending government money over accusation of corruption and impunity in the irregular spending of the loans.
On Wednesday, IMF said it loaned Kenya Sh255 billion to help in the containment of public debt. The lender said Kenya was undergoing financial distress as a result of the accrued debts that it was servicing.
“Kenya has large financing needs on account of the adverse effects that the Covid-19 pandemic has created,” said the IMF, suggesting why the country needed the money.
The lender said some of the financial challenges Kenya is facing, had been outlined in the 20220/2021 financial year budget, and that not all the money lent to Kenya was going to be used on emergent needs such as battling the adverse effects of Covid-19.
“The central objective of the [IMF loans] program [to Kenya] is to gradually stabilize public debt,” said the lender. The IMF further said it is optimistic that Kenya’s economy will bounce back once Covid-19 hardship reduces.
“The budget deficit will be reduced over time (as the Covid-19 shock eases) through a combination of revenue mobilization and spending rationalization measures,” said the IMF.