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World Bank Rejects Retirees Demands

The Nation (Nairobi), 15 December 2000

Nairobi - The World Bank yesterday rejected calls by retirees that it intervenes in the civil service retrenchment.

World Bank officials also declined to address demonstrating former civil servants who camped at the institution's Upper Hill offices seeking clarification on some aspects of the retrenchment process.

More than 100 retrenchees had marched to the Bank's offices at 10 am seeking an explanation from the Bank on how the money it had released for the programme was being disbursed.

They carried placards, some of which read: "Dr Leakey, 64 years gets Sh2.5 million monthly, MPs Sh500,000, Retrenchees who have worked for 23 years, Sh40,000."

At the World Bank offices, the workers were kept waiting at the entrance for more than six hours. They were seeking audience with World Bank Country Director Harold Wackman, who was said to be out.

At 3.30 pm, an emissary delivered a letter by external relations officer Peter Warutere, referring the issues raised to the concerned government ministry.

It read: "The design and specific issues you have raised in your letter should be addressed to the government office concerned with this exercise."

The retrenchment is being carried out by the Directorate of Personnel Management in the Office of the President.

But the workers argued that the bank is funding the programme "and should intervene when things go wrong".

"It is the (World) Bank that brought about this idea of retrenchment and should therefore nurture it to fruition," one retrenched worker said.

In a memorandum handed to the bank, they also proposed that the golden- handshake be increased from the current Sh40,000 to Sh240,000. They claimed this was the figure confirmed by World Bank country director Harold Wackman.

Retrenchment, they said, had been carried out in a "cruel, inhuman and punitive" manner.

"The youth of this country, who were most affected, have every reason to believe that Kenya has lost its sovereignty to the donor community," read the memorandum.

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