What you need to know:
- Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government will be among the biggest spenders.
- The police and the Department of Registration of Persons fall under Dr Matiang’i’s ministry.
The government is to increase spending on national security by Sh6 billion in the coming election year, the 2021-2022 budget estimates suggest.
According to the estimates, the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, which is headed by Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, will be among the biggest spenders.
In total, the government is planning to spend a colossal Sh340 billion on internal security, up from Sh334 billion, continuing a trend that has been in place since Jubilee Party came into power in 2013.
An analysis of the estimates indicates the National Police Service, the Registration of Persons and Kenya Prisons Service will enjoy larger budgets in the new financial year.
The police and the Department of Registration of Persons fall under Dr Matiang’i’s ministry.
A possible referendum and the general election expected to take place in August next year will necessitate issuance of either identity cards or Huduma cards for the millions of Kenyans who have attained the voting age.
The National Integrity Management System (Nims), the budget item that caters for Huduma Number, has been allocated Sh1 billion, double the Sh500 million allocated in the current financial year.
It is puzzling that the allocation for national identity cards, which are being phased out, has been allocated Sh900 million – same level as in the ending financial year.
Slashed budget for the military
In proposals expected to be presented in Parliament on Thursday, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani has slashed the budget for the military, perhaps signalling declining expenditure in battling terror and the threat posed by Somalia-based al-Shabaab militants.
Already, Kenya has given a clear indication that it intends to withdraw from the war-torn Somalia, where the al-Shabaab militants have been fuelling political instability.
The allocation for the National Police Service, which falls under the Interior ministry, has risen by Sh6 billion, while the budget for the Correctional Services has risen by more than Sh2.5 billion.
The two budget items have been apportioned Sh138.9 billion, up from Sh132.7 billion in the current financial year.
The allocations to the military, which have consistently soared in the recent past, have this time round been slashed by about Sh2.5 billion to Sh119 billion.
Also on the chopping board is the allocation to the National Intelligence Service, whose funding will reduce by Sh3 billion to Sh42 billion.
It is unclear what informed the decision to slash the spy agency’s budget, which is hardly available for scrutiny despite being among the most generous in the security sector.
Recruitment of additional officers
The could be modest changes to the final spending plan after the legislators’ input has been put into consideration.
The increased internal security budget could be linked to preparations for the polls expected in the second half of next year, which could necessitate recruitment of additional officers.
More police stations are also expected to be established as part of preparations to quell possible election-related violence in the high-stakes contest that will likely pit Deputy President William Ruto against former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
A precedent was set in 2007 when a disputed outcome of the presidential vote led to a bloody situation that claimed the lives of at least 1,300 people.
It is plausible to expect that the Interior ministry would do anything to avert chaos by beefing-up security in potential violence hotspots.
Mr Odinga is yet to state if he will be on the ballot next year, even though his close associates have said with some level of finality that the former premier would be making a fifth stab at the presidency.
Political differences between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy have further raised the stakes in the upcoming elections.
President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga are jointly spearheading constitutional changes through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), which could culminate in a referendum before the elections – a push that has been resisted by Mr Ruto and his associates.
Police modernisation programme
The push to change the Constitution before the August polls, which seeks to drop the running-mate clause for presidential candidates, has suffered its first major setback after a ruling by the High Court that declared it unconstitutional.
President Kenyatta is among the petitioners seeking to overturn that ruling at the Court of Appeal and allow the proposed changes to be subjected to a plebiscite.
Mr Yatani has allocated Sh659 million to boost the World Bank-funded Horn of Africa Development Project, an amount that is seven times the Sh80 million apportion for the project in the present year.
The project seeks to improve movement of people and goods, including creation of one-stop border posts, along the Isiolo-Mandera road.
Other notable budget items include the police modernisation programme (Sh1 billion) and the National Secure Communication and Surveillance System (Sh1.5 billion).
Through the latter system, the government hopes to enhance sharing of information between various security agencies.
While launching the project in December last year, President Kenyatta said it would enhance “coordination of security activities and operations to allow real-time information exchange, and allow our security agencies to better deal with emerging threats in cybercrime”.
Users of the system include the military, the police and the NIS.