Nairobi — The exorbitant budget that had been set up to finance Kenya's 50th birthday has been slashed from Sh2.5 billion to Sh500 million and a new 19-member committee set up to work on the commemoration.
State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu made the revelation on Thursday afternoon, when he reiterated the government's concern over the ridiculous budget noting that it had been slashed to a fraction of the original amount.
He explained that the initial budget was out of touch with the country's current financial status adding that the new committee would be chaired by Sports, Culture and Arts Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario.
"As you recall the budget was of particular issue. Dr Wario will now work with the provisional budget of Sh500 million which is a fifth of the initial Sh2.5 billion budget that had been set up by the previous committee," he explained.
The previous committee, chaired by Interior Principal Secretary Mutea Iringo, had allocated Sh690 million for events management and logistics.
A further Sh365 million had been set aside for entertainment while another Sh320 million would have gone towards identifying Kenya's most prominent personalities with their portraits being exhibited on billboards around Kenya.
Sh300 million would have been used to publicise the event for an entire week preceding December 12 while Sh286 million would have been spent on conferences and exhibitions.
A bronze statue was to be erected in honour of former President Mwai Kibaki at a cost of Sh50 million. This would have been to celebrate him for overseeing the promulgation of the new Constitution.
"Last month the President disbanded the committee that was tasked with the preparations for Kenya at 50 and that was mainly related to what he saw as an unrealistic budget at the time," recalled Esipisu.
He added that there would also be a secretariat led by Saima Ondimu which will work hand in hand with the committee.
The committee will have both government and private sector nominees who will oversee the celebrations.
Among those from government will be Devolution Cabinet Secretary Ann Waiguru, Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir, Commerce Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie, a nominee from the Interior and Coordination of National Government ministry and a nominee from the National Treasury.