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Sen. Sakaja under fire for supporting upped debt ceiling

By Sigomba Ramadhan Omar | November 7th 2019
Nairobi County Senator Johnson Sakaja. He has been criticized for endorsing the National Treasury’s bid to raise Kenya’s debt ceiling to Sh9 trillion. [File, Standard]

Nairobi County Senator Johnson Sakaja (Jubilee) is under fire for endorsing the National Treasury’s bid to raise Kenya’s debt ceiling to Sh9 trillion.

Yesterday, senators nodded to the Treasury’s notice aiming at amending the Public Finance Management (National Debt) (Regulation), 2019 after Parliament voted in its support on the previous day.

Sen. Sakaja was largely faulted on digital media with some critics describing him as a hypocrite playing “survival politics.”

Sakaja whom according to tweeps proclaimed himself a “Super senator” and termed his politics clean (Siasa safi) had wooed many with a ‘good guy’ personality.

When appearing on some local TV shows alongside his counterpart senator Mutula Kilonzo of Makueni, he has been lauded as one of the few young, visionary and sober minded leaders Kenya has.

After reportedly endorsing the debt limit increase, some of his admirers may have changed their perceptions.

Here are the reactions of online users towards the Nairobi Senator.

Thanks to the senators, the government can now borrow more despite the public debt hitting Sh6.2 trillion according to the latest figures by the Central Bank of Kenya.

A majority of thirty senators reportedly voted in support of the amendment to raise the debt cap.

To the surprise of many Kenyans, some senators who have for a long time been perceived as liberators for the common mwananchi okayed the move.

“If you look at the borrowing in Kenya today, 90 percent is being done by the republic. Kenya is approaching the situation that was there in Greece,” observed Sen. James Orengo (ODM Siaya).

Sen, Orengo, also the House Minority Leader, however, supported the bill, saying it was required to buy the government time to get its house in order on the fiscal side.

“Even us as an opposition we wouldn’t want to inherit an economy that has crashed.”

Only seven senators reportedly Mutula Kilonzo Jr (Makueni), Moses Wetangula (Bungoma), Boniface Kabaka (Machakos), Enock Wambua (Kitui), Samson Cherargei (Nandi), Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho) and Mithika Linturi (Embu) opposed the motion.

In 2015, Parliament amended the debit law allowing former Finance Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich to move the debt from Sh1.2 trillion to Sh2.3trillion which Sen. Kilonzo says has not turned out well.

"We have a ferocious and uncontrollable appetite for borrowing which is not good for us,” said Sen. Kilonzo.?

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