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Senator Sifuna's balance on his Nairobi Expressway ETC card shocks Kenyans

Nairobi Senator Sifuna would have to make over 750 trips on the Nairobi Expressway to finish the balance on his ETC card

Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna
  • Senators debated recent protests against the Finance Bill 2024, showing public discontent with the government
  • Calls for austerity measures to reduce government expenditure and ease the burden on Kenyans were supported in the Senate
  • Nairobi Senator Sifuna raised concerns about the high balance on his ETC card for the parliamentary car allocated to him

Senators on Wednesday debated the recent protest against the Finance Bill 2024, with many saying that the demonstration was a sign of public discontent with the government.

Many senators addressed the rising government expenditure, calling for austerity measures to enable the government to operate within the budget without overburdening Kenyans.

Senate Majority Leader Aaron Cheruiyot said that the Salaries and Remuneration Commission should halt the planned increase of salaries for senior government officials.

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“They (SRC) have to tell us what it is that you're going to do so that we reduce our public expenditure on wages and salaries from 46% to the mandatory 35%. Mr Speaker, if it means taking a pay cut, we as members of parliament have been told that it is not possible, that members of parliament will never do it. We don't have an option; we must do it,” he said.

Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna also supported calls for austerity, saying that the government should look for ways of not overburdening the taxpayers.

He gave an example of his own car, which he was allocated in his official capacity as Deputy Minority Whip.

He said that on the first day he was given the car, he was shocked at the amount of money that had been loaded on the ETC device used to access the Nairobi Expressway.

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ETC is a system that allows drivers to automatically pay tolls on toll roads without stopping the car.

“On the first day that I used that car to go home, I passed through the Expressway. I was shocked, Honourable Speaker, at the amount of money that is on my ETC card for my parliamentary car.

"As of this morning, when I used that same car to come here, there is Sh377,000 on the ETC of the vehicle given to me by Parliament. It does not make sense,” Sifuna said.

This means that it would take Sifuna over 750 trips to finish the balance on the ETC.

Many Kenyans have expressed shock after the disclosure, questioning government priorities.

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Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale also supported the proposal to reduce government expenditure. He claimed that Members of the National Assembly were under scrutiny due to allegations of embezzlement of the National Government Constituency Development Fund.

"We are where we are today because Kenyans hate and are angry with the ongoing situation in the country, and if we don't speak to them and take action, we will go nowhere. It was never the Finance Bill; the Finance Bill was a trigger," Khalwale said.

The senators challenged the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and other government agencies in the governance, justice, law, and order sector to upscale and make concerted efforts to fight corruption.

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