The Treasury’s disclosure that former President Mwai Kibaki’s pension and perks will outstrip the basic pay of the sitting President in the 2020/2021 fiscal year calls for a rethink of how the country rewards its retired leaders.
The law sets a retired president’s monthly pension at 80 percent of the salary paid to a sitting president. The fact that Mr Kibaki is set to take home a total of Sh2.86 million per month in the year starting July compared to the official basic salary of Sh1.44 million of President Kenyatta is largely due to extraneous allowances, which have in the past been unsuccessfully challenged in court.
The question therefore remains how to balance the cost of keeping a retired leader(s) comfortable in retirement without burden taxpayers, even as we remain cognisant that the initial motivation for this move was to encourage presidents to step down once they had served their constitutional terms.
By their very nature, large pension payments, which also apply to other retired high ranking public and State officials, also frustrate the Treasury’s efforts to cut down the public sector wage bill. It may therefore be necessary to review of the pension policy for all officials with a view to moderating what the public pays for their upkeep in retirement.