Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki has faulted senators for raising Kenya’s debt ceiling to Sh10 trillion from Sh9 trillion.
Speaking at Kangutu market in Chuka/Igambang’ombe constituency yesterday, Mr Njuki said the move that gives the National Treasury the latitude to borrow Sh846 billion to fill the budget deficit is an affront to Kenyans who are suffering due to the high cost of living.
He said the government had increased taxes even on basic commodities like food items to raise money to pay the huge debt.
“With the recent increase in the country’s debt ceiling from Sh9 trillion to Sh10 trillion, Kenyans should brace for worse economic times ahead,” Governor Njuki said.
He said that in 10 years President Uhuru Kenyatta had raised Kenya’s debt ceiling from Sh1.8 trillion in President Mwai Kibaki’s time to Sh10 trillion, plunging the country into deep debt.
Instead of using the borrowed money to finance direct economic empowerment projects such as irrigation and industries, he argued, President Kenyatta built the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and the Nairobi Expressway.
He said it annoyed him that while the President is planning to spend more money to extend the railway from Naivasha to Kisumu, most roads that he started in counties had stalled.
Only six kilometres of the 30km Chuka-Kaareni road in Chuka/Igambang’ombe constituency that started in 2014 has been tarmacked, he said.
“While Uhuru is planning to use billions of shillings to extend the railway from Naivasha to Kisumu, our Chuka-Kaareni road is still in a deplorable state and there are no signs the work will resume,” he said.
He claimed that Mr Kenyatta became disoriented after meeting Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition presidential candidate Raila Odinga for their March 2018 “handshake”.
Mr Njuki said Mr Odinga dealt a blow to the Jubilee administration’s development plan, ensuring President Kenyatta achieved little in his second term.
But Mr Odinga has hit at his critics, saying he was not in government and that his handshake with President Kenyatta helped stabilise the country and boost economic growth.
President Kenyatta has also repeated that his administration performed better during his second term because of his pact with Mr Odinga.
But Mr Njuki said the opposition leader caused a rift between President Kenyatta and his deputy, Kenya Kwanza presidential candidate William Ruto, to ensure that the 2022 election promise the Head of State had made to his deputy was not honoured.
Mr Njuki, who is seeking a second term on a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party ticket, urged residents to vote for Dr Ruto, saying he will improve the economy through his “bottom-up” economic model.
He also drummed up support for UDA candidates, noting that for Dr Ruto to perform well, he needs a majority in the Senate and the National Assembly.
Njuki is facing strong competition from his deputy, Nyamu Kagwima, who is seeking to dethrone him under the Wiper party.
Others seeking the governorship are Dr Mzalendo Kibunjia of Narc Kenya, Prof Erastus Njoka of Jubilee and Chama Cha Kazi’s Gitari Mbiuki.