Unnecessary foreign travel hurting Kenya's economy
By Mathani wa Kaboi; Lilian Gichuku; Justin Nkaranga; | December 9th 2015
President Uhuru Kenyatta, by virtue of his position as Head of State, is the country’s diplomat-in-chief. As result, he represents Kenya in international fora.
But in the three years that he has been President, Uhuru has emerged as the most-travelled President of Kenya since independence.
A foreign trip by a President of any nation is an expensive affair due to the large entourage and the concomitant travel arrangements.
This is why it should worry all Kenyans when Uhuru shows an insatiable love for foreign travel.
At a time when the Kenyan economy is struggling to stabilise, our currency is depreciating terribly, interest rates are shooting through the roof, recurrent expenditure is weighing down the Government, and inflation has shot to over 7 per cent, some of these trips are simply unnecessary.
Presidential foreign trips, as well as all Government officials’ foreign travel, need to be restricted to essential travel and the size of delegations substantially cut down.
While many trips by our leaders have diplomatic and economic benefits, I strongly feel that they should be reduced and funds allocated to them reallocated.
Large delegations that accompany the President cost a lot and this undermines Jubilee’s austerity measures.
Since El Nino rains started, scores have been killed by floods and hundreds displaced. Counties have few funds to mitigate such disasters since the Government has not released funds for emergencies.
With reduction of the foreign trips, some funds would be spared to manage such crises.
So far, Uhuru is the most-travelled Kenyan President we have ever had.
Yes, he is signing a lot of deals. But Kenyans are asking, “what for?”
Kenyans will have to pay back what the Government is borrowing through their noses for ages. This will affect posterity.
President Kenyatta should go slow on the begging mission. Kenya has sufficient resources and needs no support from foreigners.
Why don’t we see those we’re begging coming to Kenya and sign deals here at home?
Uhuru’s unnecessary numerous trips are harming Kenyans.
There’s too much wastage and unnecessary travel with huge delegations, which we consider as joy rides because we don’t see the fruits.
Among the benefits of the much-debated foreign travel is a deal worth Sh4.5 billion with the Chinese to construct a conference centre at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Is this offer necessary given there already similar facilities, which are under-utilised such as KICC and other Government institutions.
Isn’t there an item in Vision 2030 such as the Likoni Bridge or upgrade of medical facilities that would have interested the Chines more instead of a white elephant project?
The concern raised by Kenyans is the frequency of foreign travels and large delegations, not the agenda of those trips.
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