Retirement benefits standoff: Ruto’s intervention mitigates public backlash and upholds democratic principles.

  • 14 Jun 2024
  • 3 Mins Read
  • 〜 by James Ngunjiri

When Uhuru Kenyatta left office in September 2022, at the end of his two constitutionally mandated five-year terms as the Head of State, he became entitled to a retirement benefit package funded by taxpayers.

The Presidential Retirement Benefits Act, anchored in Article 151 of the Constitution, stipulates that a retired president is entitled to a lump sum payment on retirement during his lifetime, calculated as a sum equal to one year’s salary for each term served as president.

The act stipulates that the retired president is also entitled to a monthly pension equal to 80 percent of the monthly salary currently paid to the president and an entertainment allowance of KSh200,000 per month.

Additionally, a retired president is entitled to a housing allowance of KSh300,000 per month to support both an urban and rural home.  

Other entitlements include suitable office space, not exceeding 1,000 square meters, with appropriate furniture, furnishings, office machines, equipment and office supplies to be provided and maintained by the government. This is in addition to two new cars of the retired president’s choice, replaceable every three years, each car having an engine capacity not exceeding 3000cc. Among the cars, a retired president is entitled to two four-wheel drive motor vehicles of their choice, replaceable every three years, each with an engine capacity of 3400cc, and a fuel allowance of KSh200,000 per month.

The retired president is also to receive an allowance of KSh300,000 per month for electricity, water, and telephone facilities. He should also receive full medical and hospital cover, providing for local and overseas treatment, with a reputable insurance company for the retired president, his spouse, and his children under the age of 18.

Additionally, the retired president is required to be provided with two personal assistants, four secretaries, four messengers, four drivers, two cooks, two housekeepers, two gardeners, two laundry persons, four house cleaners, office maintenance, maintenance expenses of vehicles, a diplomatic passport, local travel and international travel allowance of up to four trips a year not exceeding two weeks each, and access to the VIP lounge at all airports within Kenya.    



Last week, Mr Kenyatta accused the current administration of frustrating him by starving his office of cash and entitled benefits.

Through his spokesperson, Kanze Dena, the former president said the government has failed to disburse KSh1 billion in funds and benefits allocated for his retirement, forcing Mr Kenyatta to pay the office’s bills from his pocket.

According to the spokesperson, Parliament allocated KSh655 million to the office in the financial year 2022/23, but only KSh28 million has been released. “This is approximately 4.4 percent of the total budget. This does not include payment of salaries and medical insurance. No other monies spent can be accounted for by this office,” she said. “The budget for the financial year 2023/24 was KSh503 million, but no single coin has been released so far. The year is ending without the office having any access to this allocation. The total amount for the two years that we have not had access to is approximately KSh1 billion.”

The office has been allocated KSh579 million for the next financial year, 2024/25. “We are waiting with bated breath to see if the allocation will be honoured,” she added.

On May 9, 2023, Mr Kenyatta, through his private secretary Kinuthia Mbugua, wrote to State House Comptroller Katoo Ole Metito requesting for official vehicles. Two days later, Mr Metito, through Mr John Makumi, requested Mr Kenyatta’s office to “urgently specify the make and preferred colour of the vehicles” for further action.

State House later regretted that the cost of the four state-of-the-art vehicles had exceeded the KSh140 million budget. And on the issue of the former president’s office, the State House had been clear that he should use the Nyali office based on the fact that it was brought by the government.

Behind-the-scenes engagements

On June 11, President William Ruto and his predecessor Mr Kenyatta, held talks over his retirement benefits standoff following a series of behind-the-scenes engagements, which also involved Head of Public Service Felix Koskei.

State House announced that President Ruto and Mr Kenyatta had agreed to constitute a team led by Mr Koskei to address all the grievances raised by the former Head of State. State House Spokesperson Hussein Mohamed said the team will address all the concerns raised, including the location of Mr Kenyatta’s office, facilitation of his official duties, and staff requirements.

President Ruto later informed the Cabinet about his conversation with his predecessor and assured his Cabinet that they had already resolved the issues surrounding budgetary allocation to Mr Kenyatta’s office.

A standoff over retirement benefits could lead to further division among political factions, which would be detrimental to governance and the country’s image.  Additionally, Dr Ruto was aware of the public perception surrounding the issue and failing to address it adequately could result in criticism or backlash from the public, potentially damaging his political standing.

The President’s intervention mirrored a recognition of the importance of addressing contentious issues diplomatically to safeguard political stability and uphold democratic principles.