In a surprising turn of events, Gatundu South MP Gabriel Kagombe has introduced a motion in Kenya’s National Assembly that seeks to strip former president Uhuru Kenyatta of his retirement benefits. Kenyatta handed over power to his successor, William Ruto, in September 2022.
The motion, which has garnered support from MPs allied with President Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza coalition, requires a supermajority in the National Assembly to halt Kenyatta’s monthly pension and other privileges for participating in active politics after his retirement. According to Section 6 (1) of the Presidential Retirement Benefits Act, a retired president cannot hold office in a political party for more than six months after leaving the presidency. Kenyatta had until March 13, 2023, to relinquish his position as leader of the Jubilee Party, an affiliate of the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party.
The proposal, submitted to parliament on Tuesday, May 3, also aims to halt the pensions and retirement benefits of former prime minister Raila Odinga and former vice president Kalonzo Musyoka. Daily Nation reported that at least half of the members would have to support the move to deny the benefits as per the Retirement Benefits (Deputy President and Designated Officers) Act.
Kagombe’s motion further requests the National Treasury to recover KSh 844 million (approximately $7.6 million) already paid to the three former state officers since their departure from office. The first-term MP alleges that they engaged in active politics while receiving their retirement perks, which he argues violates the Presidential Retirement Benefits Act of 2003 and the Retirement Benefits (Deputy President and Designated Officers) Act of 2015. Both laws mandate that state officers disengage from active politics to be eligible for retirement benefits, though neither specifies whether such beneficiaries can be surcharged.