CORD came hard on Jubilee Alliance last evening with a barrage of well orchestrated questions which made Majority Leader Aden Duale (URP) reveal that the much hyped trip by the TNA side of the ruling coalition to China only secured sh16.02 billion shilling, a paltry some amount of money whose economic worth is ‘insulting’ to every right-thinking taxpayer, considering the presidency had(once again) lied about the value and significance of another failed diplomatic charm offensive.
During the trip, the presidency announced that Kenya Uhuru had secured grants, loans and concessions worth sh425 billion;Â Sh340 billion for economic partnerships, wildlife protection and the standard gauge railway project and Sh85 billion for energy-related projects.
On Wednesday, Majority Leader Aden Dualle told MPs that on the trip to the Far East, President Kenyatta secured a grant, a loan and a concessional loan worth a total Sh16.02 billion.
What is now emerging is that the presidency calculated the cummulative cost of all projects China was undertaking in Kenya, some which nearing full completion and which former prime minister Raila Odinga played a major role in securing, then summed up all that Â and gave to the Kenyan people as new investments! A government that lies consistently!
â€œWhat was reported was what was value to the Kenyan people; five billion dollars. Itâ€™s not the 15 billion.â€ Five Billion Dollars only which is just a paltry sixteen billion kenya shillings. The presidency lied; today Kenya can confirm that the much hyped president Uhuru Kenyatta’s tour to China was a diplomatic hoax that has boomeranged on the country. No investments, it was a another fiesta tour!
What Kenyans have not been told is that the most developement allegedly undertaken by Chinese firms, including Thika, are often funding between Kenyan taxpayers under public-private sector partnerships. Yesterday, Duale revealed the expected construction of the standard gauge railway line from Mombasa to Western Kenya will be funded in the same usual fashion. No China!
Parliament also queried the circumstances in which a memorandum of understanding promised a Chinese firm rights to drill for geothermal power. Just as with Nigeria, where President Kenyatta was reported to have secretly sold off oil exploration rights to the Nigerians, the new development raises questions on the powers of the presidency in hawking the countries natural and historical resources.
Earlier, Uhuru’s predessesor, Mwai Kibaki, was accused of hawking off Migingo islands to Ugandans to seek legitimacy in the region after the disputed elections of 2007-08. Todate, Ugandans still harass hapless Kenyan fishermen on the island.
Of the funds to the government directly, the first is a grant of Sh1.42 billion, which will be used to fund a project to be agreed upon between the two governmentsâ€™ finance ministers.Â The second is an interest-free loan of Sh2.8 billion to be given within five years from September 1 this year and which would be used to fund technical and economic cooperation projects to be agreed upon between the two governments.
Parliament would be notified once the projects are identified by the two governments, said Mr Dualle.
The Majority Leader said the loan would be paid at the rate of one tenth over 10 years from September 1, 2023 to August 31, 2033.
China will also provide Kenya with a concessional loan for Sh11.8 billion to be used on Nairobi City Centre Extra High Voltage and the 66KV network upgrade and reinforcement project.
Projects would be appraised by the Chinese Export-Import Bank, which would also supervise the use of the loan. The agreement for the loan would remain valid for three years after it is signed.
It would be declared invalid if the two governments fail to agree.
But led by MPs Chris Wamalwa (Kiminini, Ford-Kenya), John Mbadi (Suba, ODM) and James Rege (Karachuonyo, ODM), they wondered whether that amount was worth it given the large delegation President Kenyatta travelled with.
â€œWe donâ€™t want to mortgage our children and our future generations,â€ said Mr Wamalwa, who had asked for the statement. â€œIn our role as the National Assembly, we wanted to know this for the purposes of planning.â€
Mr Wamalwa was wary that the Chinese could have provided that money with the condition that the projects would be carried out by Chinese firms, which is rather common and without competitive bidding.
John Mbadi wanted the statement from the Presidentâ€™s spokesman clarified because it created the impression that either Mr Dualle was lying or that â€œthe communication was aimed at the West so that they donâ€™t push the ICC issue.â€
â€œI really doubt if you can go to China, stay for all those days only to negotiate for Sh15 billion to be advanced in five years, really, for a country like Kenya. That should be a personal loan of John Mbadi or Homa Bay County,â€ said Mr Mbadi.
Richard Onyonka (Kitutu Chache South, ODM) struck a more conciliatory note; saying that for a president to go to another country and get even Sh1 billion, it was commendable.Â He asked whether there was an agreement to have 250,000 Chinese come to Kenya, but Mr Duale told him that wasnâ€™t true.
Under pressure from the MPs, Mr Duale said Mr Wamalwaâ€™s question only touched on grants and loans.Â
Could Duale have let enough out? Well, TNA Mps were later heard cursing, claiming Duale was exposing the President for ridicule at a time the whole trip issue had ended. To the TNA Mps, their colleagues in URP seem to only care about questions which touch on the Deputy President.
“During the hustler’s jet, we were together, but yesterday most of them just stared as the opposition made mincemeat of the President,” a TNA legislator from central Kenya (of course) was overhead grumbling!
But now we know. Mr President, really? 16 billion? How Much did the Homa Bay Governor secure around that period from the ‘western world’?