[QODLink]
Africa

Kenya's $30m celebration plan sparks outcry

Government proposal for celebrating nation's 50th anniversary of independence sparks public criticism.

Last Modified: 30 Jul 2013 19:33
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Critics say proposal was the latest of a pattern of questionable expenditures of Uhuru Kenyatta government. [AFP]

A government proposal to spend nearly $30m celebrating the Kenya's 50th year of independence is causing an outcry among civil society groups who say the country does not have any reason to celebrate let alone the means to do it.

Civil society activists are also questioning the government's spending priorities because public servants like doctors, police officers and teachers remain unmotivated to work because of poor pay and working conditions.

Morris Odhiambo, president of the National Civil Society Congress, said Tuesday that the proposal to spend nearly $30m was the latest of a pattern of questionable expenditure of the four-month-old government of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Others include the proposal of building an office and home for former President Mwai Kibaki at a cost of nearly $6m, he said.

More than half the Kenyan population lives below the poverty line and the country has an external debt of about $6.8bn, so the government should practise austerity instead of spending money for a celebration, Odhiambo said.

"All these things are avenues of corruption'' he said.

Kenya is ranked 139th out of 182 nations by anti-corruption campaigners Transparency International.

Kenya's government spokesman Muthui Kariuki did not answer calls seeking comment.

Kenya gained independence from Britain on December 12, 1963 and became a republic one year later. The Coalition for Constitution Implementation said the government's celebration proposal is a "serious economic crime".

"This is also a slap on the face of Kenyans who are currently overburdened by the cost of living and the majority of whom have nothing to show or to celebrate as the last 50 years have been characterised by economic plunder, corruption and oppression,'' the group's Cidi David Otieno said.

"The minimum wage in Kenya is about $1,500 a year but many here live on even less" he said. 

277

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
A political power struggle masquerading as religious strife grips Nigeria - with mixed-faith couples paying the price.
The current surge in undocumented child migrants from Central America has galvanized US anti-immigration groups.
Absenteeism among doctors at government hospitals is rife, prompting innovative efforts to ensure they turn up for work.
Marginalised and jobless, desperate young men in Nairobi slums provide fertile ground for al-Shabab.
The Khmer Rouge tribunal is set to hear genocide charges for targeting ethnic Vietnamese and Cham Muslims.
join our mailing list