Former First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta’s monthly state pension has been increased to KES 679,800, according to documents seen by Business Daily. Mama Ngina’s pension was increased from KES 568,218 which she received in 2018 as the spouse of Kenya’s first president, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, who died in 1978. However, her family’s multibillion-shilling wealth is under renewed scrutiny.
The Presidential Retirement Benefits Act that came into effect in January 2003 allows the spouse of a sitting or retired president to receive 40% of the current salary paid to the sitting head of state if their husband dies. However, some lawyers argue that the act should not be applied retrospectively, and it should only apply to the spouse of a sitting or retired president who died after 2003.
Critics have heavily criticized the lavish retirement benefits offered to state officers and personalities like Mama Ngina Kenyatta on the grounds that they left public office with outsized wealth, including prime properties worth billions of shillings and vast business interests.
The Kenyatta family’s vast business interests span transport, insurance, hotels, farming, land ownership, and media in Kenya. They are considered one of Africa’s wealthiest families, and their business empire is associated with well-known commercial brands and blue-chip companies, including Brookside Dairies and NCBA Group.
Recently, President William Ruto’s political allies called for a probe of the Kenyattas’ businesses’ tax records, claiming that they received waivers. They also wanted counties to audit land rates paid by the Kenyattas on thousands of acres they own across the country.
The push for the probe emerged weeks after Dr. Ruto’s swearing-in after the Supreme Court upheld his victory following a petition by veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga, who this time had the support of his former foe ex-President Uhuru Kenyatta.
In 2021, the Pandora Papers leak revealed that the Kenyattas secretly owned a network of 13 offshore companies for decades. Their offshore investments included a company with stocks and bonds worth $30m and a secret foundation set up in 2003 in Panama naming Mama Ngina Kenyatta as the first benefactor and Uhuru as the second benefactor, who would inherit it after her death.
Mama Ngina Kenyatta’s Monthly Pension
Mama Ngina Kenyatta started receiving the state-backed monthly payment before her son, Uhuru, became president in 2013, officials at the Treasury said. At 40% of the sitting president’s salary, Mama Ngina Kenyatta is entitled to a KES 576,000 monthly pay, which rises to KES 679,800 after factoring in other benefits and increases that happen every two years.
The monthly pension of a retired president is set at 80% of the current salary paid to the sitting President besides other perks like fuel, house, and entertainment allowances. Uhuru started receiving the KES 1.32 million monthly pay from December 1 and was paid a lump sum of KES 39.6 million, according to Treasury documents seen by Business Daily.
The monthly payment of Mama Ngina, who is 90 years old, has placed her in a small and exclusive club that includes former top public officials who enjoy lavish retirement benefits