As the raging debate over Kenya’s unmitigated appetite for loans from both domestic and international lenders continues, organisers of the petition currently going on to try and have the International Monetary Fund stop lending the government seem to be annoyed by the involvement of politicians in the drive.
Perhaps the most famous involvement by a politician in the process so far is that of Narok County Senator Ledama Ole Kina who, via Twitter, rallied Kenyans to stand firmly against the upcoming loan issuance by IMF to Kenya.
In a veiled jibe at the senator, Jerotich Seii, policy expert, activist and an analyst who has admitted to signing the petition, wondered on KTN’s show NewsNight, hosted by Ben Kitili, why and how a member of parliament could try to get involved in the petition drive, yet parliament is the same body that helped the government successfully apply for the loan by raising the debt celling.
However, it was the swipe by Kwame Owino, chief executive Officer of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA-Kenya), a public policy think tank based in Nairobi, that was more scathing and directed.
Appearing on the same show as Jerotich Seii, Ben Kitili asked him whether the ongoing signature collection drive by Kenyans, aimed at petitioning the IMF, would have any legal weight, to which he replied that it wouldn’t, and was purely symbolic.
He however went on to say that the ongoing conversation was not only a necessary one but powerful too, and which could be more impactful if it were directed at the right institutions.
He singled out The Executive and parliament as the accountable bodies. Then, without mentioning names but in clear reference to Kikuyu legislator Kimani Ichungwa, Kwame said that it was annoying seeing some politicians complain alongside Kenyans yet they were heading committees on budgets at the time.
Kimani Ichungwa who is the immediate former chair of the National Assembly’s Budget and Appropriations committee was among members of parliament allied to the DP who went to release a press statement criticising the government’s application for a loan to the IMF, in Lavington.
The event, however, was unsuccessful as they were thrown out of the hotel they intended to address the press from.