Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party boss Raila Odinga has poked holes into the source of money diverted for use in the Hustler Fund programme, while defiantly urging his supporters who have subscribed to the loaning scheme to default on their repayments.
Mr. Odinga reiterated to his supporters on Wednesday during an Azimio rally in Kamukunji grounds to embrace the government’s loaning scheme, but to treat the money as their own claiming it very well may be.
In a thinly-veiled criticism of the President William Ruto administration’s flagship initiative, Mr. Odinga compared the Hustler Fund to the Ksh.6,000 social protection fund he – himself – had promised Kenyans during the electioneering period.
“Hii Hustler Fund ati unapewa shilingi mia tano, hiyo unaweza kuanzisha biashara gani? Alafu ati ulipe baada ya siku kumi na nne…sisi tulisema nguruwe sita. Mjue hii mnapewa ni deposit ya zile nguruwe sita,” he said.
“Wakitoa, chukua, lakini hapana sema asanti maanake ni mali yenu. Mwambie kesho pia nitarudi. Hio ni mali ya umma ambayo jamaa wameiba.”
Azimio leaders who graced the event also took to the podium to pour cold water on the initiative citing its alleged opaqueness.
Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka questioned the source of the Ksh.50 billion said to have been disbursed for the program, claiming that the money had no legal framework nor was it allocated in the budget.
He thus advised the youth against repaying the money as he called on the government to shed light on the sources of funding for the initiative.
“As experienced leaders in this nation, even though vijana mnasema hamtalipa Hustler Funds, wacheni niwaambie mbona hamtalipa. Hustler Funds has no legal framework, haijapelekwa kwa Bunge. Mnajua sheria za Bunge, you have to get an appropriation, hiyo haijafanyiwa,” he said.
“Kenya Kwanza mna jukumu la kueleza dunia nzima…hii Ksh.50 billion tunataka tujue inatoka wapi, Treasury haijaidhinisha. You have a duty to explain the source of the money.”
Embakasi East MP Babu Owino echoed the remarks by Odinga and Kalonzo on defaulting in repayment saying the government could not possibly jail all defaulters.
“Na hiyo Hustler Fund msirudishe tafadhali. Kuna jela yenye itatosha nyinyi wote?” The outspoken legislator posed amidst cheers and laughter from the crowd.
The recently rolled out Hustler Fund, which is one of President Ruto’s key campaign pledges, is a digital lending system that gives Kenyans access to financing at an 8 per cent pro-rated basis or a daily rate of 0.002 per cent.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua in a recent meeting slammed Azimio leaders for inciting Kenyans against repaying their loans.
“If you find a leader anasimama, na ni kiongozi amechaguliwa, na anaambia wananchi ati kopa pesa na usilipe, huyo ni kiongozi kweli? Hao viongozi wa Azimio wamepotea…that is the kind of retrogressive politics ilifanya sisi tukatae hiyo mambo ya Azimio,” he said in Murang’a last week.