We pay you! President Ruto fires back at Uhuru Kenyatta

Uhuru Ruto

President William Ruto (left) and his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta.

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The government maintains that it facilitates all travels for the former President, both local and international.
  • Mr Mwaura further said staff at Mr Kenyatta’s disposal were on government payroll.

President William Ruto-led government has denied claims by former President Uhuru Kenyatta that it was withholding benefits due to him.

It now says the disagreement arose from unrealistic demands by the retired Head of State to compel it to lease one of his homes for his own use in contravention of procurement laws.

Through spokesperson Isaac Mwaura the government Monday evening sought to set the record straight by saying, “The Office of the Third Retired President admits they have been provided with vehicles. We only differ on the number. The fact is that they have been provided with 14 vehicles.”

The statement said the vehicles are fuelled and maintained by the State House.

“They also alleged falsely that their fuel cards have been blocked. We, however, put it on record that the vehicles are fuelled through the State House Master Card. Our records show that several vehicles were fuelled as recently as May 15, 2024,” Mr Mwaura said adding that the vehicles are routinely maintained and serviced at State House.

“These services have been offered as recently as on April 5, May 7, May 8 and May 15, 2024.”

“The records are clear: The vehicles were bought in the years ranging between 2020, 2021 and 2022. They are, therefore, very befitting of the person of the third retired President.”

He said the vehicles in question include two Range Rover Autobiography, two Range Rover Sport, a Mercedes S600L, an Armoured Land Cruiser V8 and four Prados.

He said the contention arose after the Office of the Retired President sent a request for four vehicles whose cost is Sh140 million.

“They are Range Rover Vogue (First Edition) at Sh51.3 million, Mercedes Benz S500 worth Sh66.4 million, Toyota Land Cruiser ZX-VXRK6 worth Sh22.5 million and Toyota Fortuner at Sh10.6 million,” the government spokesman said.

Rejected Nyari office

About Mr Kenyatta’s office, Mr Mwaura said, in 2012/2013, the government purchased an office for him. This office is located in Nyari, Nairobi.

“This is the office the late President Mwai Kibaki used for nine years, between 2013 and 2022. It is, therefore, a suitable office for a retired President, any retired President.

"By rejecting this office and preferring that the government leases his own private home, the Third Retired President is inviting the government to violate procurement laws, regulations and procedures. It is an adventure that the government cannot engage in” he said.

Kibaki Office

The office that was occupied by the late president Mwai Kibaki along Ibis Road, Nyari Estate, Nairobi.

Photo credit: File

Mr Mwaura further said staff at Mr Kenyatta’s disposal were on government payroll.

“The Presidential Retirement Benefits Act specifies that a former President should have 34 staff. Already, 33 are in office.

"The Act also specifies that staff who work in the Office of the Retired President must be public servants. On Mr George Kariuki and Ms Kanze Dena, their names have not been forwarded to the State House Comptroller by the retired President for processing,” he stated.

The statement further said the government diligently pays the salaries of the retired President, his staff and their allowances. State House also maintains that it facilitates all travels for the former President, both local and international.

“It is critical to point out that the Act provides that only four foreign trips should be fully paid for and for a maximum of 14 days. As for daily subsistence when on official duty, Public Service Commission and National Treasury regulations apply.

"The retired President's budget is under the State House Comptroller, who is the accounting officer of the State House, including the Office of the Retired President. The Comptroller originates the budget and defends it in Parliament.”

He added that there was no compelling obligation to seek concurrence on the budget with the Office of the Retired President.