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Experts dismiss IMF petition push by Kenyans as legally meaningless

The recent push by Kenyans to sign a petition advising the International Monetary Fund against giving Kenya financial aid received a major blow yesterday after a cross-section of economists cutting across different departments of the sector all spoke in unison, declaring that the campaign had no impact legally.

Kwame Owino, and former head of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD, Mukhisa Kituyi are among the experts that came out to make it clear that the petition push doesn’t have any impact in terms of affecting IMF policies.

NMG economist Julians Amboko was the first expert of the evening to pour cold water on the signature-collecting petition when he said that IMF deals with a country’s legal and structural organisations as opposed to the populace.

In the Kenyan case, Amboko said that IMF had taken into consideration views from the Central Bank of Kenya and Parliament. Despite this, he said that the ongoing discussion is a good one to have, and one that should go on, but shouldn’t be thought of as a legal panacea.

Mukhisa Kituyi, on the other hand, said that he had previously been part of the IMF spring meetings when he was still at the UNCTAD, and he knows for a fact the IMF has no provision which allows them to accommodate citizen involvement, rather, it deals with government structures.

He however, added that the push by Kenyans wasn’t entirely in vain, as the international lender takes into consideration political nuances of a country when drawing up conditions on loan structures.

Kwame Owino, chief executive Officer of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA-Kenya), a public policy think tank based in Nairobi, Kenya also echoed the sentiments by his colleagues.

Dismissing the petition push as purely symbolic, he said the pressure and anger by Kenyans was nevertheless a powerful tool, only that it was being directed at the wrong place, and would be more useful if it was directed at the relevant institutions, namely The Executive and The Parliament.

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Written by Joshua Wanga

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