President Uhuru Kenyatta’s numerous foreign trips have raised questions as the cost of his travels has increased five times in just nine months.
According to the Controller of Budget (CoB), the Presidency which included President Kenyatta and his deputy president William Ruto has spent Ksh190 million in nine months compared to only Ksh36.5 million in the same period of a year earlier.
In the documents presented, the drop in the foreign travel bills in 2017 by the Presidency was attributed to President Kenyatta focusing on wooing citizens to re-elect him.
Mr Kenyatta has in the recent past been out of the country in what is referred to as a foreign travel spree while cutting down on his domestic travels.
In April, the President together with Opposition leader Raila Odinga travelled to China in a bid to secure Ksh360 Billion loan, which they failed to get. However, State House later came out to affirm that the loan was not the main reason why the President had travelled to China.
Soon after his trip to China, Uhuru suddenly “went missing” for weeks as Kenyans took to social media trying to know of his whereabouts.
According to Citizen Weekly, it was later reported that during the time when the President was not seen in public, he had travelled to Dubai on an undisclosed agenda.
Recently, during the late Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore’s memorial service, the President divulged that the week before his passing, Bob had tried to reach out to him but he couldn’t as he had travelled to Canada, a trip that wasn’t known to the public prior to his revelation.
Last week, Uhuru travelled to Tanzania.
It is further recorded that the President has cut down significantly on his domestic travels since his re-election and the eventual handshake with Opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Mr Ruto, on the other hand, has intensified his domestic travels, causing discomfort among a section of the ruling Jubilee coalition who are opposed to his 2022 presidential bid.
The CoB data shows the overall spend on domestic travel fell to Ksh420 million in the first nine months of 2018/19 compared to Ksh432m the previous year.
Despite assuring Kenyans that his government will cut down on non-essential items like travels and entertainment, the Presidency seems to have let themselves off the hook of that promise.
However, State House has in the past been forced to defend Mr Kenyatta’s frequent trips abroad, arguing that most of them had the potential to attract investments.
Expenditure on foreign travel for the 64 ministries, departments and agencies increased 38.6 per cent to Ksh4.2 billion in the nine months on the back of increased trips abroad by MPs.