A chief, who took to collecting money from villagers to finance Madaraka Day celebrations, says the collection was voluntary and in line with helping a broke government.
The Korinda administrator, Mr Stephen Osige confirmed to The Nairobian that indeed, he collected the money through village elders to facilitate the presidential function.
“Contrary to what the villagers are staying, I have not forced them to give a minimum of Sh500 but they can hand in whatever they can afford so that we can use it to hire tents and chairs on the big day,” he said of the ungazetted collection that comes amidst rising cost of living.
“In fact, we are in a meeting over the same at the office of the assistant county commissioner. But mark this, the collection was for those who were willing.”
The chief said the collection was justified as the government was not “well off” to finance the operations during Madaraka Day, adding they needed sodas and to sit under a tent as they marked the event at Busia Stadium.
The levy comes amidst mass protests against the government over the controversial Finance Bill, 2023 which proposes to make people pay more as taxes.
It also comes even as Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u indicated that the Executive Office of the President spent Sh9.09 billion between January and March against an original full-year estimate of Sh8.64 billion.
Korinda villagers complained to The Nairobian, saying the ungazetted chief’s contribution was adding agony to their impoverished lives.
“We are forced to hide whenever we spot the chief or his assistants in the name of village elders. The worst thing is that they use blackmail to extort money by telling you that they will deny you government services if you fail to support the chief’s kitty,” said a trader at Korinda who did not wish to be named for fear of victimisation by the “bullish” administrator.
Another shrewd trader said he promised to pay for Madaraka Day so that he does not have to hide whenever the chief and villagers come knocking.
“Not that I am safe, from the way they look at me they may use their powers to make life difficult for me should I not honour my word as I am won’t to do. Who knows, they may as well deny me services which I am heavily taxed for.”