Taxpayer to spend Sh4.4b on troops in DRC
The taxpayer will cough up Sh4.4 billion to support Kenya Defence Forces troops to be deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo on a peacekeeping mission.
Parliament yesterday approved the deployment of the troops along with other forces from the East African region.
The report tabled by the Defence, Intelligence and Foreign Relations Committee, stated that the amount to be spent is Sh601.87 million above the Sh3.8 billion in the Memorandum to the National Security Council on the matter.
However, Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale when appearing before the committee, said the discrepancy emanated from changes effected on the budget after a reconnaissance visit to the area in question that necessitated a change of strategy.
Nevertheless, members observed that the budget was too high for a country that had in the recent past embraced austerity measures due to limited fiscal space.
The budget provided in the request to the National Assembly, of Sh4.5 billion, caters only for the initial six months envisaged in the deployment. However, if the Kenyan troops stay for one year, the cost implication will be approximately a whopping Sh7.2 billion.
“In case the troops stay on, the annual cost implication will be approximately Sh5.5 billion to Sh6 billion,” reads the report tabled by committee chairman Nelson Koech (Belgut).
The committee however approved the deployment of KDF to East African Community Regional Force to Democratic Republic of Congo (EACRF-DRC).
Nyando MP Jared Okello, however, rejected the deployment terming it a waste and misuse of resources during a period when the country was ravaged by drought and an under performing economy.
“When Kenya sent troops in Somalia we were told that they will stay there for a short period but to date they are still there and nothing has been achieved. Why send more troops to DRC?” he asked.