NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 15 – A civil society group held demonstrations in the streets of Nairobi on Monday urging the government to reduce military expenditure and instead use the money in other development projects.
Coalition for Constitution Implementation (CCI) in marking the Global Day of Action on Military Spending said that Kenyans had continued to experience security challenges despite huge amount allocated to the military citing lack of unemployment and high poverty levels as the cause.
The group’s spokesman Cidi Otieno urged the government to consider cutting down the military expenditure and re-allocate the funds to other developmental projects.
“In 2012/2013 budget estimates, the government allocated a total of Sh83.5 billion to the security sector of which Sh69.5 billion went to internal security, Sh1.4 billion went to purchasing police cars, Sh2.5 billion to recruitment of 3,500 police officers while Sh300 million went National Police Commission,” Otieno said.
While addressing the press, Otieno said this was still too high, “compared to allocation of other sectors like irrigation that was allocated a paltry Sh8 billion, welfare of orphans, which was allocated Sh4.4 billion and Sh1.1 billion to the elderly persons of the society. Youth Development Fund and Women Development Fund were allocated Sh550 million and Sh450 million respectively.”
They have urged the government to come up with a budget that is development oriented, and focused on creating job opportunities among the millions of youth in the country.
They say the government should ensure money allocated to the military is spent prudently. “As we mark the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, we ask the government to follow up on the allocation to the security sector in 2012/2013 budget to find out if the allocations have been used prudently,” Otieno appealed.
The government was urged to speed up the withdrawal of Kenyan forces from Somalia arguing that instead they should come and increase surveillance along the Kenyan border to prevent proliferation of arms and other contraband goods, where are likely to aggravate insecurity.
Other than security, the group urged the government “to increase allocation on the food production, education, healthcare, housing and water, employment and social security sectors to reduce the crimes related to access resources.”