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Newspapers Review: William Ruto and Gachagua offices to get more billions as budget cuts hit ministries

On Saturday, April 4, local newspapers widely reported on heavy rain and flooding across the country, even as President William Ruto, in his speech from the House of Representatives, warned that the worst was yet to come.

Kenya Newspaper Review
The main news from today’s newspapers. Photo: Saturday Nation, The Saturday Standard, Taifa Leo and The Star.
Source: UGC

Newspapers also reported on Ruto’s decision to indefinitely suspend the opening of schools across the country for the second term.

1. Saturday Nation

Residents of Sabaki, Malindi sub-county in Kilifi, are mourning and counting their losses after floods swept away an iconic 80-year-old baobab tree named after pre-independence heroine Mekatilli wa Menza.

“The gigantic tree has been a source of livelihood for more than 50 local youths, who take tourists on a tree climbing experience and show them where Mekatilli is said to have hidden from settlers.

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The Iron Lady, as Mekatilli is often known in Mijikenda folklore, is believed to have prophesied the arrival of the Europeans and told the people of the time that the whites would come with an iron snake, i.e. the way of the railway.

The tree also acted as a sacred place for the Mijikenda community, which locals say dates back to the Mekatilili era. Mekatilili used to rest under the tree while he carried out his missions.

Even tourists have not been spared the loss as they woke up to the news of the ancient tree’s tragic loss.

Moses Kaingu, leader of the local youth group, said they fear tourists will move to other areas, denying them income.

“Tourists come here to learn the story of Mekatilli, who used this place as a hideout to evade colonialists since he was a rebel. The tree was uprooted by the swift waters of the Sabaki River and, to our surprise, it did not fall, but it simply floated in the raging waters until it reached the Sabaki ridge, where it became entangled in the power lines.”

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2. The star

The newspaper reported that the offices of President William Ruto and Vice President Rigathi Gachagua will receive more billions of shillings in the next financial year as budget cuts hit ministries.

The Executive Office of the President will receive KSh1.3 billion more than this year’s allocation, while that of the DP will increase by KSh600 million.

President Ruto’s office has been allocated Sh5.3 billion for the next financial year, clearly higher than the Sh4 billion received this year.

DP Gachagua’s office has been allocated Sh4.8 billion, compared to Sh4.2 billion in the current budget.

On the other hand, the Office of First Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi has been allocated KSh 1.1 billion, which is KSh 100 million less than the KSh 1.2 billion in the current budget.

If parliamentarians support the National Treasury proposal, the three main offices, including the House of Representatives budget, will receive more than Sh20 billion.

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While the top three offices are bracing for billions, most ministries, departments and state agencies (MDAs) have been hit hard by strict budget cuts.

3. The Sabbath Standard

According to the newspaper, a mob set fire to houses in Kiwanja Ndege in Shinyalu, Kakamega County, claiming it was revenge for a murder.

The mob accused the owner of the houses, Benzon Mackenzie, a pastor, of being behind the death of a resident identified as Kizito Namanga.

The village was thrown into chaos when a mob of about 800 people arrived at Pastor Mackenzie’s house and burned at least five houses.

According to the mob, their action was informed by ‘Okhusula, a traditional Luhya ritual that calls for the destruction of the property and home of a person suspected of being involved in a murder.

“The mob marched with a dead body from the Kakamega mortuary and committed the heinous act,” Kakamega East OCPD Daniel Mukungu said.

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The police chief said they would not leave the house immediately because the lives of Mackenzie’s relatives were in danger.

Residents who did not want to be identified claimed that the Namanga killers had visited a healer for cleansing and even revealed the identity of the person who sent them to commit the murder.

4. Taifa Leo

The Swahili newspaper reported that allies of President William Ruto and opposition leader Raila Odinga agreed in parliament on several reforms aimed at improving the management of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Members of both factions agreed to the reforms proposed by the Parliamentary Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) to the IEBC Amendment Bill 2024.

Among these amendments is that the Director General of the commission will now serve a four-year term, which can only be extended once. This is different from the initial proposal that the official serve a single six-year term.

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Other amendments adopted while the bill was being considered by the entire parliament include the requirement that new IEBC commissioners must have experience in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) or Accounting as an additional qualification for the position.

In approving this requirement, lawmakers stated that experience in these fields would allow new commissioners to effectively oversee elections because elections in the country today are driven by technology.

“The proposed additional ICT and Accounting expertise aligns with several responsibilities of the commission, including the use of technology and integrity in the procurement of election-related goods and services,” the bill states.

However, commissioners must not be lawyers but have some degree from a recognized university.

Members of both factions also agreed to extend the period for newly appointed commissioners to audit how the general election was conducted and submit a report to the National Assembly from the current 12 months to 18 months.

Source: TUKO.co.ke