The Day Former Finance Minister Late Nyachae Told Moi That The Country Was on ICU Because of Corruption

In 1998, then Finance Minister, Simeon Nyachae, became the subject of conversation after he made a rare admission that the country’s economy was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), urging that it needed to be fixed urgently.

In his speech, Nyachae advocated for the government to seal the corruption loopholes as it was impossible to impose new taxes on Kenyans, who he claimed, had already been overtaxed.

The sentiments were, however, not taken lightly by then President Moi who moved to sack him a few months later. This led to Moi’s famous quote on the issue, stating “If your mother is dancing naked in the kitchen, you don’t tell the world.”

Other Dramatic incidences;

1.In 1983, a historic first was witnessed when then Finance Minister, Arthur Kinyanjui Magugu, postponed the budget reading process by a week. At the time, then President Daniel Moi had dissolved Parliament leading to an impromptu election. This led to a debate as the late Charles Njonjo was accused of colluding with foreign powers to overthrow the Moi administration. 

While in his office, Magugu explained to journalists that the delay was inconsequential as opposed to the battle for political survival that every minister faced. 

2.James Gichuru is remembered as Kenya’s first Minister for Finance, and a trailblazer who made a mark in the country’s politics. Many are familiar with James Gichuru Road, which was named in his honour. 

However, Gichuru was an alcoholic, something that saw him bundled out of the Finance docket.  In 1969, Gichuru stumbled in front of founding President, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, and other diplomats.

The former Minister was unable to finish reading the budget and called for ‘half-time’ in order to take a drink. His peers described him as politician who had good common sense but lacked focus.

His drinking problem escalated to a point where government documents would be found at a local bar located along River Road in Nairobi. 

3.President Uhuru Kenyatta, when serving as the Minister for Finance in 2009, became the talk of town after he walked to Parliament building from his office instead of using vehicles assigned to him by the government. 

While reading the budget, he directed all Cabinet Ministers and other government officials to use vehicles whose engine capacity does not exceed 1800cc.

Uhuru also temporarily prohibited the purchase of new vehicles unless under unavoidable circumstances. He added that the move was aimed at reducing the amount of money the government spent on fuel.

His directives, however, were just a monologue as no Cabinet Minister or government official followed his directive. 

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