Gachagua blames ‘handshake gov’t’ for Kenya Kwanza’s challenges in paying salaries
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua on Sunday, April 9, 2023, admitted that senior civil servants were yet to receive their March salaries amid reports of a cash crunch at the National Treasury.
Speaking during a church service at PCEA Ngorano Center Church in Mathira, Nyeri county, the country's second in command attributed the salary delays to the maturity of debts whose repayment the government had prioritised.
Gachagua blamed the previous administration of Uhuru Kenyatta and his handshake brother Raila Odinga for "ruining the country's economy" with a big appetite for loans.
“It is true we are having challenges in paying salaries and giving money to governors because the handshake government ruined this economy. They borrowed money left, right and centre,” Gachagua stated.
“Because we are a responsible government, we have to pay this money.”
National Assembly Minority leader Opiyo Wandayi had on Friday disclosed that members of the parliament were among civil servants affected by the salary delays.
"Azimio la Umoja One Keliya Coalition Party is deeply concerned at the worsening economic situation in the country that has seen the government unable to meet one of its most basic of obligations, which is paying its workers. We fear that this country is collapsing while we sit pretty hoping for miracles," Wandayi said, further questioning where taxes collected by the government were going.
"For the first time since independence in 1963, the government of Kenya is unable to pay salaries to civil servants and members of Parliament. Nearly all civil servants don't know when or if they will ever be paid. The situation has been degenerating progressively since December last year. This month, things have come to ahead.
"For the first time in our history, even MPs have not been paid as we head towards mid-month," Wandayi added.
While defending the government on Sunday, Gachagua revealed that some of the government loans matured last week and the government had no option but to repay. He said this week's revenue will go into serving recurrent expenditure.
“What we collected the last two weeks was sufficient to pay the loans. What we are collecting this week will pay salaries and other requirements,” he added.
The former Mathira Member of Parliament insisted that President William Ruto's Kenya Kwanza administration found empty coffers at the Treasury.
He asked the country to "pray" for the head of state to have the "wisdom" to turn around the country's economy.
“We found an empty country with nothing, everything had been spent and stolen, and I want you to pray for President William Ruto for God to give him wisdom as he rebuilds this country,” Gachagua said.
“We are in a difficult situation, we are not the ones who borrowed that money but we have to pay because this money is owned by Kenya, William Ruto is the President of Kenya and he cannot run away from those debts,” he added.
At the same time, Gachagua hit out at the opposition over their recent protests regarding the high cost of living, saying Raila never complained when the prices soared during President Uhuru's regime, which he (Raila) supported after the March 2018 political truce "handshake" with the former head of state.
“Just how foolish does he (Raila) think Kenyans are,” the DP added.