Thursday, September 4, 2008



September 4, 2008
The Standard
By Mutinda Mwanzia and Maseme Machuka

MPs have praised Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s wife, Ida, for declining the Sh400,000offered by the State.

The MPs, led by Ikolomani MP Bonny Khalwale, on Wednesday urged Mrs Pauline Kalonzo, the wife of the Vice-President, to follow suit.

"We cannot hesitate to say what Mrs Ida Odinga has done is commendable," said Dr Khalwale.

Speaking at Parliament Buildings, MPs Charles Kilonzo (Yatta) and Kiema Kilonzo (Mutito) said the allowances were a waste of public money.

"We urge the Government not to take Kenyans for a ride and stop wasting resources that can be put to better use," said Kiema.

When she turned down the offer, Ida thanked Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura for recognising the public responsibility she shoulders.

She said Muthaura had shown that he understood the implications of the many official functions she attended and guests hosted in the name of Kenya.

"The legacy I have built is not worth Sh400,000. I thank Muthaura for appreciating that there is a heavy responsibility that comes with my position. But I will not take the money," said Ida.

On Wednesday, Khalwale asked the Government to stop paying Sh250,000 a month as rent for the office of First Lady Lucy Kibaki. "The office has never been used and should, therefore, be shut," said Khalwale.

The office of the First Lady was established in 2003 and the occupant receives a Sh500,000 monthly allowance. At the same time, the Supreme Council of Kenyan Imams (Supkem) welcomed Ida’s move.

In a statement signed by Mohamed Hajir, Supkem said the decision was timely and called on Kalonzo’s wife Pauline to emulate her.

"We already have a bloated Cabinet and we cannot afford to hurt the taxpayer more," he said.

on Tuesday, The Standard exclusively reported Ida’s decision. This drew intense online reactions.

Some readers praised her move, but others recommended that she accepts the allowance and gives it to charity.