Outrage as World Bank Gives Kenya Another Loan

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) with World Bank Vice President Hafez Ghanem at a meeting at State House, Nairobi
    President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) with World Bank Vice President Hafez Ghanem at a meeting at State House, Nairobi in March 2020.
    PSCU
  • Kenyans have been irked by news that the World Bank has approved another loan to Kenya to fund climate change projects in rural areas.

    Whether or not the information was news, to Kenyans, it wasn’t. And if it was, it was bad news. 

    Treasury CS Ukur Yattani (right) with a representative of the Japanese government pose for a photo after agreeing on a loan deal at the Treasury Buildings on February 27, 2020.
    Treasury CS Ukur Yatani (right) with a representative of the Japanese government pose for a photo after agreeing on a loan deal at the Treasury Buildings on February 27, 2020.
    Twitter

    People have expressed dissatisfaction over the ballooning debt, which now stands at Ksh7.7 trillion, although the government has maintained that the debt is helpful and, above all, manageable.

    The public outcry over the debt intensified in 2019 after Moses Kuria, a member of the Parliamentary Budget Committee, made chilling revelations on the Tuesday of November 5, 2019, about the debt situation in the country.

    “Since 2014, we have sold to Kenyans this romantic story that all is well because we believed in respecting the Executive and also since most of us are members of the ruling party,” said Kuria.

    His sentiments came at a time when both foreign and domestic debt stood at a total of Ksh6 trillion, trying to see whether the legislators would come to their senses and offer mitigation in any possible way.

    “The reason we are in this hole is because as parliament we could have said No but we said Yes. So on behalf of Parliament, I want to offer my unqualified apology to the people of this nation since as the people they trusted on the ballot we have failed them by selling them lies that everything is well,” he remarked.

    Most people saw the shocking exposure as a challenge for the government to rethink its monetary policy, but that never came to happen.

    The debate ran for some time but was overshadowed by politics, but that did not come as a surprise to Kenyans. They have been accustomed to it. 

    The outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020 pushed the country to secure more credit facilities to support an economy that was being ravaged by the virus.

    As such, on Tuesday, April 6, 2021, Kenya once more woke up to the shocking news that the International Monetary Fund had approved Kenya’s loan of more than Ksh234 billion meant for COVID-19 response and other uses such as addressing debt vulnerabilities.

    However, Kenyans who were not comfortable with the move took action on their own by petitioning the IMF to withdraw the offer as most of the funds were lost through graft.

    Through an online petition, more than 160 000 internet users responded to the course and appended their signatures in a bid to push IMF and other lenders to be cautious while loaning Kenya. 

    “Previous loans to the Kenya government have not been prudently utilized and have often resulted in mega corruption scandals. The scandals have not deterred the ruling regime from more appetite for more loans, especially from China,” read part of the petition.

    Thousands of other netizens flocked to the social media accounts of IMF and Twitter to express their outrage.

    Therefore, to Kenyans, news about another loan from the World Bank compounds the already delicate debt situation in the country.

    And as usual, the netizens were never reluctant to share thoughts on the new burden on their shoulders. 

    “These organisations should style up and know that Kenyans are tired of this useless loans. After all this is money that will/can be lost in less than a day. Wakenya wamechoka! (Kenyans are tired),” read one of the comments on Twitter.

    “Show Us The Basis Of These Loans Before Approval @WorldBank. Why Are You In So Much Haste To Give Kenya Loans? If Their Is No Clear Basis And Also Guidance To Make The Rural Climate Change Project We Should Not Be Accountable To Repay The Loan Coz It Will Be Another Corruption,” said another Tweeter user.

    Although the uproar isn’t anticipated to yield much, Kenyans still cling to hope that the money being borrowed does not end up in the pockets of a few powerful and connected individuals.

    International Monetary Fund office.
    An Undated Photo of International Monetary Fund office.
    twitter
    corruption