Thursday, July 25, 2024

Monthly pensions, vehicles, benefits awarded to retired First Ladies in Kenya

The financial year’s budget in Kenya is expected to allocate funds for the former head of state, as guided by the Presidential Retirements Benefit Act of 2003.

The former first president’s spouses receive quite the royal treatment for their service to the nation. They enjoy a monthly pension, get several vehicles, and receive various other allowances.

Over the years, payments to former first ladies have stirred up plenty of criticism and controversy, even though the Kenyan constitution protects them.

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The Presidential Retirement Benefits Act stipulates that if a sitting or retired president passes away, their spouse is entitled to receive 40% of the current president’s salary.

This provision applies to former First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta, ensuring she continues to receive government protection and financial support. In this article, we take a closer look at the perks that retired First Ladies get to enjoy.

Presidential benefits

Article 151(3) of the Kenyan constitution states that the retirement benefits payable to a former President and Deputy President, the facilities available to them and the privileges they enjoy cannot be reduced during their lifetime. Summarily, the government is mandated not to make privileges worse.

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A retired head of state is entitled to a monthly pension along with a variety of benefits, including an entertainment allowance, housing allowance, office space, a range of vehicles, fuel allowance, and full medical coverage, all provided by the government and exempt from taxes.

Furthermore, both the retired head of state and their spouse are entitled to diplomatic passports, local and international travel allowances for up to four trips annually, and access to VIP lounges at all Kenyan airports.

A former president is also entitled to at least 30 office and home staff including 2 personal assistants, 4 secretaries, 4 messengers, 4 drivers and up to 6 security guards.

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He is also to be entitled to 2 new cars of his choice with 3000cc engine capacity, fully maintained by the state and replaceable every 3 years and also 2-4WD vehicles of his choice with a maximum of 4000cc engine capacity.

First Lady benefits

According to the Presidential Retirement Benefits Act, upon the death of a retired president, their surviving spouse is entitled to benefits amounting to 50% of the pension the retired president was receiving.

It was reported that in April 2023, Mama Ngina Kenyatta’s pension was raised from Sh. 568,218 up to Sh. 679,800 per month.

Apart from this monthly pension, she is also entitled to vehicles to help with her transportation needs and security personnel to guard her residence and accompany her to public functions.

In May 2024, government spokesperson Isaac Mwaura disclosed that Mama Ngina was provided with three fuel cards for all her vehicles. Maintenance and fuel are at the government’s expense.

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Her envoy includes two Toyota Land Cruisers with 4000cc engines, one Mercedes Benz with a 5000cc engine, four Toyota Prados with 2700cc engines, and two Range Rovers with 4200cc engines.

Isaac Mwaura reassured of the government’s goodwill to take care of the former president Uhuru Kenyatta and former first lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta. He noted that all their employees are well-paid by the government.

“I wish to confirm that the office of the retired 3rd President has staffers well paid, with some at higher job groups, the level of a Principal Secretary,” Mwaura stated.

His revelations came after the former spokesperson Kanze Dena addressed journalists at a televised event, refuting claims of the government’s intention to support the former president’s office and cause.

“There is also the issue of unceremonious withdrawal and intimidation of staff via phone calls at midnight…The truth is that we (Uhuru’s office) are not being facilitated,” she told a local publication.

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