image

Decoding power and politics: Social Accountability in Kenya. 1 week ago

Imagine a Kenya where every voice matters and transparency reigns supreme. In a landscape often dominated by political maneuvering, social accountability stands as a beacon of hope. It's about empowering citizens to demand transparency and ensuring that power serves the many, not just the few. Join us as we decode the intricate dance of power and politics in Kenya, and explore how social accountability can reshape our nation. We invite you to share your thoughts and experiences on this vital topic. How can we collectively enhance social accountability in Kenya? Your insights could be the key to driving meaningful change. Ready to dive in?">

0 Comment
image

HUSTLING THE HUSTLER FUND 1 week ago

In 2022, the Kenyan Government launched the Financial Inclusion Fund, popularly known as the Hustler Fund among the citizens. Some were convinced the fund was a highly glamorised saviour. The fund would be for all and would be the start of a new dawn for the wananchi especially those in the informal sector encompassing Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Others were sceptical and thought of it as another ticking time bomb. The fund aimed to support and safeguard those individuals at the lowest economic level who are more often than not disregarded and forgotten. It aimed to set them up with a holistic financial solution. Its main pillars are affordable credit, competitive savings, and pensions products, comprehensive insurance solutions, access to affordable housing, market linkages, and financial literacy. Barely three years down the line, the sceptics have been proven right. A scandal has hit the hustler fund which is the brain and golden child of the current president. The Auditor General has revealed worrying facts during its audit of this hustler fund, putting billions of taxpayers' money at stake. The fund is an open can of worms full of utterances and nuances that millions have been lost through the fund -another pyramid scheme, perhaps? For starters, according to the report, monies from the fund amounting to Ksh. 464 million have been disbursed to non-registered persons and others who did not qualify for loans. The report also shows that about Ksh. 200 million have been disbursed above the set loan limits. Further, the report points out cases where duplicate IDS have been used to process loans while in some cases, loans were advanced to people without national IDs. This puts into question the integrity of the hustler fund's entire disbursement system. This also begs the question, who are these so-called individuals who were so easily granted loans by the fund without verification of their credentials? Moreover, there are reports that over Ksh. 81 million loans have been closed before payment. This shows the lack of transparency and accountability. According to the auditor general, through the fund, monies of about Ksh. 161 million had been lent to borrowers who still had previous loans they had not repaid, yet some Kenyans were not even able to access any loans from the fund. Other issues that have emerged from the fund pertain to the authenticity of unconfirmed balances, there are irregular charges to customers by banks and there is the issue of undisclosed customer savings interest earnings. Is it another money minting scheme disguised as a saviour for the wananchi. To conclude, one would not be wrong to compare the tendencies and operations of the hustler fund to those of shylocks. All this has the effect of perpetuating a vicious cycle of loan borrowing and defaulting thus the borrower is a slave to poverty and continued low socio-economic status.">

0 Comment