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National Dialogue on Kenyan Debts Must be Preceded by Citizen’s Debt Audit
by David Calleb Otieno
10 September 2018

The Kenyan Peasants League (KPL) in collaboration with the Kenyan Social Movements for Abolition of Illegitimate Debts welcome the announcement by National Super Alliance (NASA) leaders Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka calling for a national dialogue on Kenyan debts that is already unsustainable.

However the KPL and partners believe that a national dialogue should be preceded by a thorough citizen’s audit of all the debts that will help to clarify the terms of the credits and the legitimacy and legality of the debts.

KPL and its partners believe that most of the Kenyan debts are illegal as the process of acquiring them are even contrary to the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act and and the principles of finance management as stipulated under the article 201 of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 that states that there must be public participation in all financial matters and that the debt burden should be shared equitably between the current and future generations.

Considering that any debt whose conditions violate human rights of the citizens, despite the fact that the process of incurring them did not violate the laws and policies, are illegitimate. It is clear that the conditions like retrenchment of workers, increasing tax, reduction of government expenditure, repealing the interest rate cap law among others have severely violated the rights of Kenyans, and are therefore illegitimate.

It is worth noting that some of the Kenyan lenders went ahead to provide loans while fully aware that the conditions including the repayment of the loans cannot be done without impinging on the human rights of Kenyans and without affecting Kenya’s capacity to provide basic services to the citizens.

For example the second Eurobond that was floated at the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in February 2018 were incurred with the lenders fully aware that Kenyan debts were already unsustainable and Kenya could not repay the debts without affecting its ability to provide basic services to the people and are therefore odious.

KPL and its partners therefore, believe that any national dialogue on debts without a thorough citizen’s audit will not resolve the issue but will only seek to transfer the debt burden from one sector to another and will not establish where the money went to. We therefore call for abolition and repudiation of all Kenyan debt that are illegal, illegitimate and odious and the burden be taken to the individuals who pocketed the proceeds of the debts.

David Calleb Otieno

KPL International Coordinator and Convener, Kenyan Social Movements for Abolition of Illegitimate Debts