06-04-2021 by redazione
"Don't lend Kenya any more money!"
The heartfelt and seemingly self-serving appeal is not coming from the Kenyan government, but from its people through civil society and free citizens who are commenting all over the International Monetary Fund's twitter profile and posts about granting a new loan of 257 billion shillings to the African country.
According to many of the opinions that are flooding the net at the moment, the IMF is helping corruption in the country, only enriching the oligarchy in power and further bankrupting the Kenyan people.
An online petition has also been started, asking the organisation to cancel the latest loan.
According to Nation.Africa, Kenya's total public debt stood at Kes. 7.2 trillion at the end of last November. At the current rate of 120 billion a month, this will reach Kes. 9 trillion by June next year.
By continuing to lend out loans without overseeing their use and asking for guarantees of transparency, say many citizens who signed the petition, those who believe they are helping the country with these funds are actually aiding corruption and misappropriation of public funds.
"Have you ever bothered to know how the loans you give to the Kenyan government are being used? You are making individual billionaires while the rest of us continue to suffer. Kenya does not need loans," said one user on social media.
In this sense, the Covid-19 pandemic has proved to be a magnet, rather than a calamity, capable of attracting loans, postponing interest but above all indebting Kenya like never before. While before March 2020 Kenya's public debt was running at the rate of 71 billion shillings a month, it is now averaging 120.
The infrastructural works that the government has in the pipeline to improve transport (the Nairobi elevated railway and the completion of the Nairobi-Malaba railway on the Ugandan border, above all) are, according to public opinion, an opportunity to rig contracts and inflate expenses, operations that are also fundamental to raising funds to subsidise electoral campaigns ahead of the 2022 elections.
But the very management of funds that should be dedicated to the health sector, which is crucial at this time, is a cause for discontent after the numerous strikes by health workers and some scandals on the adaptation of hospitals and Covid-19 wards in various counties. Yet Kenya has received 6.8 billion shillings from the World Bank to prepare to contain the pandemic.
According to an Infotrak study on Kenyans' perceptions of foreign debt, 81% of Kenyans are angry, fearful or anxious because of the country's mounting debt, 52% rate the management of borrowed funds as poor while 62% do not approve of regular borrowing from foreign sources.
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