Kenyans trooped online over the weekend and on Monday to protest the move by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to continue giving the Jubilee government new loans before it accounts for previous ones.
This is after the Bretton Woods institution last week signed off a new Sh257 billion loan for Kenya. Now, hordes of Kenyans on social media are accusing the IMF of aiding corruption in the country, with some starting an online petition asking the multilateral lender to cancel the most recent loan.
By the end of November last year, Kenya’s total public debt stood at Sh7.2 trillion. Going at the current pace of Sh120 billion per month, it means that debt will be at Sh8.7 trillion by December, and will have crossed the Sh9 trillion mark by June next year.
By advancing the loans without demanding accountability, Kenyans online say, international lenders risk aiding corruption and embezzlement of public funds.
“Have you ever cared to know how the loans you give to the Kenyan government are utilised? You are making individual billionaires while the rest of us keep suffering. Kenya does not need loans,” a social media user, Mr Laban Maloi, told the IMF while responding to its announcement that it had cleared new loans for Nairobi.
Nation.Africa reported on Monday that Kenya’s public debt has ballooned by more than Sh1 trillion in the last one year under the cover of fighting Covid-19 pandemic.
This now makes the period between March 2020 and March 2021 as Kenya’s worst in terms of borrowing, after the government’s appetite for debt shot up by 69 per cent.
In the eight months between March and November last year, Kenya had increased its stock of public debt by Sh971 billion.
This translates to about Sh121 billion every month, a sharp rise compared to the Sh71 billion the country was borrowing per month on average in the year to March 2020, before coronavirus hit the country.