President Uhuru Kenyatta has defended Kenya’s borrowing and perceived debt crisis saying he is not worried.
Mr Kenyatta further questioned why Kenya’s debt critics only focus on loans owed to China while there are other states that have lent money to the country. He noted that Kenya has a “healthy mix of debt” because the country’s lenders also include Japan, United States, African Development Bank, France’s AfD and the World Bank.
“We are familiar with all arguments about China and their loans, but why are we focusing ourselves only on one lender?” Kenyatta posed during an interview with CNN‘s Richard Quest that was recorded last Friday and aired on Monday night.
“As far as I am concerned, we have a very healthy mix of debt from the multilateral lenders — who are basically the World Bank and the African Development Bank — to bilateral lenders like Japan, China, France, all who are participating and working with us to help us achieve our objectives.”
President Kenyatta insisted that Kenya’s high ratio of debt against the gross domestic product (GDP) does not worry him.
“I am not worried about us borrowing. What would worry me is if the debt that we have incurred has gone into recurrent expenditure, has gone into paying salaries or electricity bills and so on and so forth,” he said.
On the question of China’s intentions in Kenya, Uhuru said: “We have an infrastructure gap that we need to fill and we are going to work with our partners across the globe who are willing to partner and to work with us.”
He noted that Japan is the biggest lender to Kenya’s port projects while France is a major funder of electricity generation projects.
The President also said that he would not take another stab at the presidency after Mr Quest asked would be interested in having a review of the Constitution so he can serve for a third term.
“I’m not interested in serving another term. I will not take up the chance even if everyone wanted me to.”
“I am not seeking to change the Constitution to cling unto power,” Uhuru said.
Kenyatta also revealed that his pact with Opposition leader Raila Odinga is meant to save Kenya from the “cyclic chaotic events staged anytime there is an election.”
“Kenya is always a gentle and loving country except for when there is an election. This is the belief we are trying to come out of,” he said.
“As we strive to work and partner with our brothers in the opposition our main focus is to put Kenya first.”