Parastatal sales: Raila hints at fresh maandamano
Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga has hinted at fresh anti-governmental demonstrations, locally known as maandamano in Swahili, following the government’s intention to sell eleven parastatals to private individuals.
Speaking in Kisii County on November 28, 2023, Mr Odinga called out the government for selling key government parastatals, saying they were joking around with their moves.
“They have now announced they want to sell government parastatals. One of them is the Kenya Pipeline Company as well as the National Oil Corporation. How can the Kenya Pipeline Company be sold to private owners? KPC is a strategic investment that should not be sold under any circumstances but they want to sell it.
Today I want to tell you to prepare yourselves. Things are not going the way you want. I want to take this opportunity to remove them from office. When I tell you to come out- wanajifanya nyoko nyoko– come out in large numbers. Will you come out in large numbers? If we say we repeat (demonstrations), aren’t you ready? If you are ready raise your hands. We have now prepared ourselves and the time will come. They have been talking all this time, we will read their reports and then we will make that announcement,” said Mr Odinga.
The Kenya Kwanza government, under President William Ruto’s leadership, intends on selling eleven parastatals in a bid to raise billions pf shillings in revenue.
The parastatals include Kenyatta International Convention Center, Kenya Literature Bureau, National Oil Corporation, Kenya Pipeline Company, Kenya Seed Company Limited, Mwea Rice Mills, Western Kenya Rice Mills and New Kenya Cooperative Creameries. Others are Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers Limited, Rivatex East Africa Limited and Numerical Machining Complex.
The government explained the reason for the sale of KICC and Kenya Literature Bureay was that they needed to be incorporated into limited companies while National Oil would be privatized due to its poor perennial financial performance. They cited monopolistic characteristics in the Kenya Pipeline Company as the reason behind its sale as well as legal cases encumbering it.
Last week, President Ruto also announced intentions to privatise 35 state companies in a bid to boost productivity after being “trapped in government bureaucracy when the services they offer can be better offered by the private sector.”
It is believed these sales are part of the International Monetary Fund’s conditions to President Ruto to reform public sector firms as part of receiving billions in loans for Kenya. They also specifically mentioned Kenya Power and Kenya Airways as companies that needed reform because they record losses annually.
According to the East African, Kenya had Sh 10.1 billion in debt by the end of June 2023, equivalent to two thirds of gross domestic product.