Ruto Out of D Zone, Men of Cloth Hit With 10-Fold Levy Hike

President William Ruto reading.
President William Ruto reading.

Hello and welcome to the Evening Brief Newsletter where levies to give blessings just went up 10-fold.

Situational Awareness: Join our expansive community of 18,000 subscribers and get a breakdown of the day's important stories delivered into your inbox. Join them by subscribing here.

Missionaries' Expensive Blessings

Missionaries looking to bless Kenyans will have to part with a higher levy, 10-fold of their current Ksh15,000, to operate in Kenya.

The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), on Thursday, held a conference to lament the decision to increase the permit fee from Ksh15,000 to Ksh150,000.

What the Bishops are Saying: “We as a country should be showing gratitude and appreciation. So giving waivers to priests, religious men and women and other social missionary volunteers come to complement our social engagement."

What Bishops Want Instead: KCCB, therefore, urged the government to reconsider its take on the levy and scrap it off terming it unethical and that it showed a lack of gratitude by the government.

Mounting Accusations: They further accused the government of failing to honour the Ksh2 billion debt it owed to church-run health facilities.

The bishops noted that the government's move not to clear the debt had immensely hampered the activities of the church-owned hospitals, and thus demanded immediate response.

“We have on various occasions raised to the government the very unjust fact that the faith-based hospitals are owed huge amounts by the NHIF," KCCB lamented.

The Effects: The bishops, as a result, insinuated that the poor services at various facilities was partly a result of the non-payment. They also accused the President William Ruto-led government of hitting back at them with silence despite several grievances.

“The effect is that most of our hospitals are crippled and unable to operate optimally,” the bishops added.

“Our inquiries on whether our debts will be honoured have been met with more promises but no legal guarantees. This is not only unfair but unjust."

The Numbers: The Catholic Church is a major healthcare provider, operating nearly a third of all health facilities across the country. This extensive network includes 451 health units, encompassing 69 hospitals, 117 health centres, 14 medical training colleges, and 251 dispensaries.

The issue of unpaid NHIF claims has led to significant disruptions in healthcare services, with around 400 rural private hospitals halting services to NHIF cardholders last month.

Zoom Out: The complaints are contradictory to the Ruto administration's goal of inculcating religious governance in turning the country into a prayerful nation.

State House employed individuals to conduct weekly prayer gatherings while the Head of State and his wife attended the religious phenomena of Benny Hinn in February.

Room for Improvement

UDA presidential candidate William Ruto (right) with his running mate Rigathi Gachagua during a media briefing on August 4, 2022
UDA presidential candidate William Ruto (right) with his running mate Rigathi Gachagua during a media briefing on August 4, 2022.

President William Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua have each recorded a single-grade improvement but still trailing in the class, Kenyans polled by Infotrak have revealed.

Ruto scored a C grade in terms of performance, an improvement from D in a similar survey released in December last year while Gachagua rose from E to D grade.

In the report, Ruto scored a mean rating of 52 per cent with his deputy coming close at 48 per cent.

In 2023, President Ruto scored a D with a mean rating of 47 per cent with Gachagua scoring an E of 36 per cent.

Overall, 41 per cent of Kenyans feel that government officials have performed poorly with 32 per cent giving an average rating.

Not All Gloom: While many Kenyans feel the President and his Deputy have underperformed, 67 per cent of Kenyans revealed that they were happy with the performance of cabinet secretaries.

Kenyans feel that the Senate is the best-performing institution with a 69 per cent mean rating translating to a B.

Meanwhile, the Judiciary was also highly ranked by Kenyans receiving a mean rating of 67 per cent and a grade of B.

Data Point

Since President William Ruto's ascension to the top job, a majority of Kenyans have always believed that the country is headed in the wrong direction, with the latest Infotrak data placing the figure at 58 per cent. Only 19 per cent believe that the country is headed in the right direction.

In July last year, however, a significant 72 per cent said they believed the country was headed in the wrong direction. The figure dipped to 53 per cent in September before rising to 61 per cent in December.

Reasons for Wrong Direction: 64 per cent of Kenyans decry the high cost of living while 38 per cent decry employment and 27 per cent cite poor governance.

Data for wrong direction

Reasons for Right Direction: 31 per cent of those who said the country is headed in the right direction hailed Ruto for improved peace in the country, ministries and the president working well (23 per cent) and affordable cost of living (22 per cent).

Data for right reasons

Here are five stories we are keeping eyes on for you;

1.TikTok has revealed that over 296,000 videos posted by Kenyans were taken down in 2023 for violating community rules

2. Senate Committee pressures IG Japhet Koome to arrest Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja.

3. Raila Odinga wants President William Ruto to reinstate Ksh206,000 salary for intern doctors rubbishing his Ksh70,000 offer.

4. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Netflix Founder Reed Hastings pour Ksh3.5 billion into a Kenyan company catering to farmers.

5. EACC clears former Communications Authority Director General Ezra Chiloba of irregularity allegations at the authority.

If you enjoyed this newsletter, share it with a friend.

This newsletter was written by Derrick Kubasu and edited by Brian Muuo.

Washington Mito contributed to the content.

Graphics prepared by Adongo Kyalo.

  • .