, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 7 – President Mwai Kibaki and First Lady Lucy directed on Tuesday that eight new cars bought for use at State House without their authority be returned to dealers.
In a statement the President and First Lady said the move was in support of Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta’s moratorium on the purchase of new vehicles in his budget speech.
“State House will support austerity measures announced by the Minister for Finance on a freeze in the purchase of new vehicles. As an immediate measure we are ordering the return of the eight vehicles that were purchased without our knowledge,” said a statement from the Presidential Press Service.
In a move that would give clout to Mr Kenyatta’s efforts to clamp down on exorbitance in government, the President further said: “We also appeal to all Ministries to support the efforts by the Minister of Finance to cut-down on Government costs.”
The eight vehicles were purchased at the end of the last financial year and delivered to State House in the last few days.
But the President and First Lady said they had not authorised the purchase of new cars and ordered the vehicles returned to dealers on Tuesday.
The First Family said it was important that government finances are re-channelled to priority areas including the provision of food and water to help suffering Kenyans.
The move by State House came as Mr Kenyatta faced opposition from some of his Cabinet colleagues who were not ready to comply with his moratorium on new cars or a directive on engine capacity.
In his maiden budget speech last month, Mr Kenyatta had also limited senior government officials to only one official vehicle with an 1800cc engine capacity.
But some Ministers now accustomed to their 4×4 vehicles said they were not willing to surrender them citing impassable roads when travelling to rural parts of the country.
Mr Kenyatta said proceeds from the sale of these vehicles would be channelled to development work.
The President and the First Lady also appealed to Kenyans to be vigilant and take a keen interest in the use of the huge resources that the Government was now channeling to the grassroots through the Constituency Development Fund and line ministries.
“The Government is channeling these resources because it believes in developing all regions of the country. Wananchi must however be on the lookout for wasteful projects and misuse of funds on non-priority projects,” they said in the statement.
“The funds we are allocating to the grassroots have the great potential of transforming our rural areas into hub-centers of development and create thousands of jobs for our young people. We encourage all wananchi to be active participants in the development process by demanding accountability and transparency in the use of public funds.”