The News Brief: Kenya staring at a debt crisis - Controller of Budget

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The Star News Brief gives you a summary of the stories making headlines in Kenya today and offers you a glimpse of what to expect in tomorrow's newspaper.

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Kenya staring at debt crisis — CoB

The Controller of Budget has warned of a possible debt crisis if the National Treasury continues to borrow to meet budget deficits. Margaret Nyakang’o argues that “increased public borrowing may result in undesirable fiscal consequences.” Public debt sustainability indicators already illustrate that Kenya faces a high risk of debt distress.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration only has room to borrow Sh590 billion to hit the Sh9 trillion public debt ceiling MPs set in October 2019. Next year’s budget deficit is projected to be about Sh1 trillion. COB warns that the debts may attract high interest rates, increase inflation, and overburden future generations.

Human trafficking rises in Kenya but fewer culprits jailed

Although cases of human trafficking in Kenya are rising, there is a significant decrease in convictions, two reports by the United Nations and the US Department of State suggest.

The victims trafficked in Kenya are mainly subjected to forced labour and sexual exploitation, the reports say. Perpetrators risk 30 years to life imprisonment or a fine of not less than Sh30 million. However, only three people were convicted for human trafficking in 2019, compared to seven in 2018, says the 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report: Kenya, by the US Department of State. The report notes in 2019, the Kenyan government reported identifying 853 trafficking victims, up from 400 in 2018.

Raila backs Uhuru's 'rotational presidency'

ODM leader Raila Odinga on Monday said that he supports President Uhuru Kenyatta’s sentiments that the country’s presidency should be rotational.

Raila called on a much representative government citing the 2013 Jubilee administration which he said did not reflect the face of the nation. At the same time, Uhuru’s sentiments that other tribes can hold the presidency appeared to give a lifeline to opposition politicians such as Musalia Mudavadi and Kalonzo Musyoka. It also raises the question of whether deputy president William Ruto can get the Mt Kenya vote without Uhuru’s backing.

I'm not in fight with Uhuru over my BBI letter — Kang'ata

Embattled Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kang'ata has stuck to his guns that BBI is unpopular in Mt. Kenya and insinuated that he was ready to pay the price for his strong views on the drive. Addressing journalists at Parliament Buildings on Monday, Kang'ata said BBI is facing ‘systematic political problems’ in Mt. Kenya that need to be addressed to save the government from ‘embarrassment.’

Late last month, Kang'ata penned a radical letter to Uhuru saying that only two in every 10 people in the President’s backyard support the BBI. He urged the President to personally take charge of popularizing the document in the region lest he is left with an egg on the face. But last Saturday, Uhuru appeared to dismiss the letter claiming he was fully in charge of the road the government was taking.

MCAs to vet Kananu despite Ruto, Sonko opposition

The Nairobi County Assembly plans to proceed to vet Deputy Governor nominee Anne Mwenda Kananu as expected on Friday. Successful vetting means she could become governor, replacing Mike Sonko and avoiding a divisive by-election. But now Sonko wants a democratic by-election and so does Deputy President William Ruto so the people can vote for the next governor.

On Sunday, Ruto broke his silence on Nairobi politics and warned the county assembly against vetting Kananu on Friday. He said that would forestall a democratic by-election to fill the governor's slot, as provided by law. The DP claimed people were planning to instal the governor using the court. However, Majority leader Abdi Guyo Hassan told the Star on Monday that despite Ruto's remarks, the assembly will proceed with the vetting process.