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Yesterday 13th June 2019, the national budget of Kenya was presented to Parliament by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economic Planning, Mr. Henry Rotich. The budget of over three trillion Kenya shillings is not only the largest budget in the history of Kenya, but also in the East African Community countries whose national budgets were also presented simultaneously with the Kenyan one as is usually the case.

As a matter of fact, Kenya's national budget which is read in the second week of June every year has risen from billions to a trillion and now to over three trillion shillings. Had the rise of the budget been directly proportional to development of the country, the country would have moved out of the quagmire of underdevelopment and started developing. If the promises of the budgets were to be implemented consistently every financial year, Kenyans would have at least observed their daily lives changing for the better. As it is now, the budget rituals that are repeated every year hardly impact positively to lives of the majority of Kenyan citizens. Instead, their conditions worsen every day. Budgets come and go but poverty, slums, unemployment and all the contradictions of underdevelopment remain and escalate.

Only the lives of the few elite in society, members of the ruling class and the upper echelon of the middle class improve. Development seems to happen in the urban areas where the elite reside, display opulent and flamboyant lifestyles and build infrastructure to facilitate their businesses. Hardly any or very little development happens in the rural areas of Kenya where the majority of Kenyans live. There life remains lethargic, unchanging and confined to incessant cycle of poverty, ruin and dilapidation. And now that Mr Rotich violated the Constitution by allocating less than fifteen percent of the budget to the forty seven devolved governments, the gap between the rural and urban areas and that of the rich and the poor will continue to widen.

In other words, the capitalist system that has been embraced by the ruling class and imposed upon all Kenyans has failed to liberate the country from the path of poverty and underdevelopment. The budgets and planning that are implemented more in the breach than the observance are meant to perpetuate the status quo of capitalism that has succeeded only in making Kenya to be among the most corrupt countries in the world and with the widest class divisions.

Despite the pretence to citizen's participation in the budgets making process, the national budget always ends up being the budget of the elite for the elite and by the elite. The poor always end up being taxed more than the rich.

The budgets when looked at critically, always prioritise the interests of the few in society: huge salaries of maintaining lavish life styles of privileged classes, large unsustainable projects that are used to amass wealth through graft, destruction of parastatals and public property by 2

privatising or selling them to members of the ruling class, and building infrastructure to facilitate the movement of capital and goods of the elites with the majority of Kenyans only being incidental in the infrastructural objectives.

Besides, if the past experience is to go by, most of the three trillion budget - that mainly will be funded by the Kenyan taxpayers - will be stolen, and the thieves will escape with their loot with impunity. One only has to make a lifestyle audit just from observation of Kenya's rich people that include the bureaucratic capitalists, and he or she will conclude that the wealth they hoard and display unashamedly is from the theft of public money and property - because it has not been otherwise.

The state institutions that have been funded lavishly by the three trillion budget - that include Parliament, Judiciary, DCI and EACC have only paid lip service to the cancer of corruption that is perpetrated with impunity. In fact, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance who presented the budget has a case pending in court involving the theft of billions of public money. His cabinet colleagues who will also oversee the implementation of the three trillion budget are being investigated for the robbery of millions and billions of public money and abuse of their offices. It was the same story in the past, it is so today and as long as the capitalist system remains, the greedy individuals in power will continue to budget for the national budget to satisfy their greed. They believe that they will continue to do so with impunity, forgetting what is happening now in nearby Sudan.

Each year, budgets are presented as if they have no history, as though they come from the blue. Hardly is there any critical analysis made of the previous budget about the previous budget’s prospects and problems with conclusions to inform the present. Thus history is always repeated but not as a farce but as a tragedy.

All budgets hitherto have ended up ignoring the priorities that form the wishes and aspirations of the majority of Kenyan people that are expressed at citizens’ budget making participatory forums. The wishes and aspirations of the majority of Kenyans are those reflected in the concept of development of the Communist Party of Kenya (CPK).

CPK believes that the people are the subjects and objects of economic, political and cultural development and that all national budgets and planning should be based on this fact. To trigger development and eradicate poverty, national budgets must aim at firstly meeting the essential necessities of all people: food, housing, clothing, education, health and employment. A national budget that is deliberately geared towards eliminating corruption, greed, privileges of the few elite, mismanagement and waste would initiate the pro-people centred projects in agriculture, industry and trade to achieve this. Such a budget would not impose more and more taxes to the poor such as bodaboda operators who merely struggle to survive. Instead, it will shift the tax burden to the capitalist elites who horde millions and billions of wealth in form of money and capital, most of which is stolen or exploited from the poor.

In this regard, the measure of development and progress perceived by national budgets should not be based on vague and abstract statistics of accounting figures but on concrete conditions of based on the people’s lives that must change for the better. 2

In other words, the history of Kenya hitherto suggests that as long as the country remains under the capitalist elite and capitalism, the promises made by successive national budgets, including the three trillion shillings one read yesterday, will continue to remain elusive to the majority of Kenyans. Capitalism has failed in Kenya. For Kenya to start developing, the system must be replaced by socialism.

 

Mwandawiro Mghanga

National Chairperson

June 14, 2019

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