Revealed: Sh106 million budget for Bomas talks

 Kalonzo Musyoka and National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wa

Wiper Party chief Kalonzo Musyoka and National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wa during the signing of the framework agreement between the Kenya Kwanza and Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition at the Bomas of Kenya on August 30. 

Photo credit: Wilfred Nytangaresi | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The document exclusively obtained by the Nation indicates that the ongoing stakeholders’ engagement that started Monday and set to run until Friday will consume Sh5,996,000.
  • Another Sh10 million would be spent on ‘document translation’ while publication of 1000 copies would cost Sh15,000,000 at a cost of Sh15,000 per unit.

The 10-member negotiations team formed by President William Ruto and Opposition leader Raila Odinga is seeking for Sh106 million to facilitate the Bomas talks, the Nation can now reveal.

A budget document prepared by the secretariat and adopted by the National Dialogue Committee shows that a big chunk of the millions has been earmarked for allowances to the members of the talks team and to facilitate retreats in Naivasha and Mombasa.

The document exclusively obtained by the Nation indicates that the ongoing stakeholders’ engagement that started Monday and set to run until Friday will consume Sh5,996,000, much of the amount going into allowances, conference facilities and refreshments.

It indicates that another Sh10 million would be spent on ‘document translation’ while publication of 1000 copies would cost Sh15,000,000 at a cost of Sh15,000 per unit. Sh9.7 million has been earmarked for contingency, being 10 percent of the total cost. 

The National Dialogue Committee co-chairs – Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah – are entitled to an allowance of Sh50,000 per sitting.

The budget document shows that Mr Musyoka and Mr Ichung’wah will attend a total of 20 sittings; 15 sittings at Bomas of Kenya, three in Naivasha during report writing and two in Mombasa during the adoption of the final document that will be submitted to Parliament.

This translates to Sh2 million for the two team leaders. This will be on top of other expenses like air tickets and accommodation running into thousands of shillings for the planned retreats in Naivasha and Mombasa.

The other eight members – Senate Majority Leader Araon Cheruiyot, Embu Governor Cecily Mbarire, EALA MP Hassan Omar, Catherine Wambilianga, National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi, DAP Party Leader Eugene Wamalwa, Nyamira Senator Okon'go Omogeni and Malindi MP Amina Mnyazi will each be pocketing Sh40,000 in allowances per sitting.

The eight will also attend a total of 20 sittings, translating into Sh6.4 million in sitting allowances. The members would also incur other expenses like air tickets and accommodations during the planned retreats.

The eight-member technical team made up of High Court Advocate Muthomi Thiankolu, Dr Linda Musumba, lawyer Nick Biketi, Dr Duncan Ojwang, Jubilee Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni, Dr Adams Oloo, former EALA MP Zein Abubakar and Isabel Githinji will each receive Sh25,000 for every sitting.

According to the document, the technical teams will hold a total of 41 meetings. This means each of the members will pocket Sh1,025,000 by the time the talks conclude. Cumulatively, the technical teams would pocket Sh8.2 million. 

The talks to settle the 2022 presidential election dispute is planned to run for 60 days, but can be extended subject to approval by Parliament.

The talks team has a total of 20 members in the secretariat, mostly drawn from Parliament. They are each entitled to Sh15,000 for every sitting. They will also attend a total of 41 sittings. This translates to Sh12.3 million. There are also six security personnels, each entitled to Sh2,500 per day in allowances.

‘Nation’ has learnt that the budget document was adopted on September 11, when the National Dialogue Committee resumed its sittings from a break to participate in the Africa Climate Change held in Nairobi.

Mr Musyoka and Ichung’wah would later on September 13 alongside Mr Wandayi and Mr Omar hold talks with National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula in Parliament Buildings.

Insiders told the Nation that the meeting was to seek for financial support from the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC).

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Sources in the talks team told Nation that a big portion of the budget is set to be financed by PSC. Nation could not immediately establish if PSC has since allocated or released funds for the talks.

But the fact that Parliament has seconded members of its secretariat to the talks team means taxpayers’ money is involved in the Bomas talks. Both the National Assembly and the Senate approved a motion legally establishing the ongoing talks.

An official in the talks team clarified that some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are also financing the negotiations. One of the NGOs is said to have paid for the conference facilities.

A total of Sh4.6 million is being paid to Bomas of Kenya for conference facilities and food, according to the National Dialogue Committee document. The committee has taken up a total of five conference rooms, according to the document by the secretariat.

The technical team is scheduled to retreat to Naivasha from October 10 – 14 to analyse stakeholders’ submissions. The retreat will cost Sh8.9 million. Apart from the allowances for the technical teams, secretariat and security, the team has earmarked Sh1.35 million for ground transport.

Half board accommodation for the team will consume Sh4.56 million for the 38-member team. Each will be spending Sh30,000 for four days on accommodation.

The entire team – National Dialogue Committee, Technical Teams and the secretariat –  will again from October 17 – 21 retreat to Naivasha for report writing. Here, the team will spend Sh11.4 million. Apart from sitting allowances, ground transport will cost Sh2.1 million while accommodation will cost Sh4.8 million.

The National Dialogue Committee will finally retreat to Mombasa for adoption of the report from October 24 – 27. This meeting will be attended by members of NDC, Technical Teams, Secretariat and security.

The talks team plans to splash Sh1.2 million on air tickets for 40 members at a cost of Sh30,000 each. Ground transport will cost Sh1.68 million while accommodation for the team will consume Sh3.6 million for the three days.

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Other expenses are on advertisement. The document indicates that the team spent Sh2.4 million in placing advertisements in two leading newspapers on September 1. The team had placed the advertisement to invite members for public participation.

The figures, however, reeks of irony after Mr Ichung’wah said they are not planning to spend taxpayers’ money on the talks. It was on this basis of expenditure that Mr Ichung’wah rejected Mr Kalonzo’s proposals to have the talks at Serena, a five-star hotel.

In a letter to Mr Musyoka on August 4, Mr Ichung’wah had suggested that the meeting be held at County Hall through facilitation by the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) or at the school of government in Kabete.

“It is in our considered view that these venues will not cause any additional expenditure to the public and which would otherwise be available for such public meetings at little or no cost to us or to the Kenyan taxpayers as opposed to the luxurious five star Serena Hotel,” said the Majority Leader.

Mr Ichung’wah also cited the prevailing economic conditions. High cost of living is one of the talks agenda. It was proposed by Mr Odinga's side. The opposition had rallied the country into nationwide anti-government protests because of high taxes, forcing the government into the talks.

“Considering that the Kenya Kwanza administration is on record committing to the Kenyan people to check on excessive borrowing that has previously led to reckless accumulation of public debt, cognizant of the prevailing economic conditions and the need for austerity measures both at individual and collective level, with the view of mitigating the high cost of living…,” Mr Ichung’wah said.