The reaction by Kenyans to Bob Collymore’s wealth declaration is a good illustration of why not many wealthy people are going to be unwilling to follow suit – unless they have already stashed much of it out of the country, as it is rumored those championing wealthy declaration have done.
Collymore who is the expatriate boss of Safaricom had said he hoped that his declaration of his wealth would spur others to do the same thus increasing transparency and fighting the runaway corruption that has bedeviled the country. Obviously he expected Kenyans to congratulate him on his good gesture. But far from that, it is the enormity of the scale of his salary that has attracted Kenyans.
Summary of Collymore’s Earnings
Here is summary of his wealth: He earned Sh110 million ($1.07 million) in the last 12 months and holds assets worth Sh277 million ($2.7 million),
He was paid a salary (employment income) of Sh109 million ($1.07 million) and Sh591,600 ($5,800) from dividends and interest income.
Mr Collymore also owns land and buildings (residential house) in London, England worth Sh54 million ($530,000), Sh20.7 million ($203,000) as cash balances in local banks and Sh95.4 million ($935,000) in UK banks.
The CEO also holds Safaricom shares valued at Sh18.4 million ($180,000) and Vodafone PLC shares worth Sh88.8 million ($871,000).
Earnings of Ordinary Kenyan
These are mindboggling figures for Kenyans more than 50 per cent of whom live on less than Shs 50 a day. The Kenyan teachers, many of whom are as qualified university graduates, earn a meager salary of Shs 32,000 a month. The ordinary civil servant, without whose commitment the country would literally come to a halt, would have worked for all their lives to accumulate a fraction of what Collymore earns in month! (Collymore earns nearly Sh10 million a month as salary).
If top earning Kenya’s were to declare their wealth, Kenyans would even be much more perplexed. The big wonder is that these are civil servants and parastatal bosses earning money from the Kenyans who earn less than Shs50 a day.
The Sarah Serem commission was expected to harmonize these salaries, but it has become an instrument to justify the inequalities. So far, it is still studying (big shame!) the salaries to see what needs and comparing them with qualifications. Witness the case of teachers.