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Ndii: Sh250B Of COVID-19 Emergency Funds Has Been Squandered

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By David Ndii

Uhuru Kenyatta must be called to account for the plunder and squandering of Sh250b Covid19 emergency funds.

Since May 2020 the government has raised fuover $2.5b(Sh250b+) of Covid19 emergency funding from the World Bank, IMF, AfDB and bilateral donors, more than adequate for the required healthcare financing and socio-economic impact mitigation.

A paper published by KEMRI scientists estimated an additional 1500 ICU beds and 1600 ventilators to cope with an 18 month transmission cycle. Sh5m per bed&ventilator is only Sh7.5b, less than 3% of the money raised.

From the outset, I argued for income replacement (Lifeline Fund) as the best policy instrument for the economic shock. This has been validated in many countries since, including by the Biden administration’s emergency plan.

KNBS estimates 1.7mt jobs lost due to lockdown by June 2020. Sh150b would have provided Sh14,000 each for six months, and saved many small businesses that may now never re-open, making recovery that much harder.

It is now self evident that this money did not go where it was intended. The health system is overwhelmed. Vaccination roll-out proceeds at a glacial pace. Yet a few months, ago this same government gloated about securing 5m signatures for BBI referendum in a blitz.

Uhuru Kenyatta pulls all stops, bribery, intimidation and God knows what else, to railroad the BBI bill through county assemblies in record time, but when it comes to a matter of the lives he’s sworn to protect, this political resolve is nowhere to be seen.

A year ago, I implored Uhuru Kenyatta to grab the opportunity for redemption that the Covid19 pandemic had thrown at him. He was not interested. He saw an opportunity to profit from misfortune. But now he holds the country hostage hoping to salvage a legacy.

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Those who have held on to hope that there must be some humanity in Uhuru Kenyatta must not confront the reality that what you see is what you get—a heartless, greedy, incompetent petty tyrant, whose only preoccupation is how he and his family will continue to plunder.

We must demand from Uhuru Kenyatta a comprehensive account of the Covid19 funding. We must demand from Uhuru Kenyatta a comprehensive statement on the fate of Sh187b Eurobond proceeds, why he interfered with the audit, why he has not pursued such a collossal loss.

Above all, we must remind Uhuru Kenyatta every day that he has no mandate to chart the course of the country beyond his term, and the only thing left for him to do is to FINISH AND GO.

 


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