Explainer: Presidential retirement benefits

On Friday, Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome confirmed that former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s security had been downsized.

The IG claimed the action was done in good faith and was not politically motivated in response to online uproar.

“Former president security detail was headed by the assistant inspector general of police. But according to the structure of the police service, a retired president’s security detail is headed by a superintendent of the police,” Koome said.

Ex-Presidents, Security, and the Law

Retired Presidents are entitled to additional retirement benefits, such as security personnel, under the Presidential Retirement Benefits Act No. 11 of 2003, which regulates retiring presidents’ security in Kenya. The act mandates sufficient protection for the retiring President’s urban and rural residences, as well as a maximum of six security officers for personal and escort usage.

Former President Kenyatta’s security has been scaled back in accordance with the act’s regulations. The act mandates that the Minister in charge of national security consult with the former president before periodically certifying the number of security guards required.

The act also provides for other benefits such as personal assistants, secretaries, messengers, drivers, cooks, housekeepers, gardeners, laundry persons, house cleaners, office maintenance, maintenance expenses of vehicles, a diplomatic passport for the President and spouse, local travel, international travel allowance, and access to the V.I.P. lounge at all airports within Kenya.

Further, a retired President is entitled to a lump sum payment upon retirement, calculated as one year’s salary for each term served as President. Additionally, a retired President is entitled to a monthly pension equal to 80% of the current President’s salary, an entertainment allowance, a housing allowance, suitable office space with appropriate furniture, two new cars replaceable every three years, two four-wheel drive vehicles, a fuel allowance, an allowance for electricity, water and telephone facilities, full medical and hospital cover, and other benefits outlined in the Schedule of the act.

A retired President is also expected to play a consultative and advisory role to the government and the people of Kenya, and may be requested by the government to perform specific official functions with payment of a reasonable allowance. The surviving spouse of a deceased retired President is entitled to benefits amounting to 50% of the pension and children’s pensions are also provided for. The professional and other staff required for a retired President are public officers with the concurrence of the retired President, and their duties are responsible only to the retired President.

Expenditures for the benefits conferred on a retired President are to be charged on and issued from the Consolidated Fund, and all expenses in the administration of the act are to be met from monies appropriated by Parliament. The pension and other benefits provided for in the act are exempt from tax, and the accounts are to be audited and reported upon by the Controller and Auditor-General. Upon death, a retired President is entitled to a state funeral.

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