, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 15 – A new opinion poll released on Wednesday indicates that majority of Kenyans are against Members of Parliament getting a pay increase.
The poll conducted by research company Ipsos Synovate shows that 88 percent of Kenyans are behind the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) position to retain the legislators’ salaries at Sh532,000.
Most feel that higher pay would be unfair as many Kenyans are suffering; the government cannot afford it and it will lead to a rise in public debt.
“Kenyans don’t want the legislators given more money. Only 11 percent are for it and 1 percent are not sure. So we can see they are fully behind the SRC,” said Maggie Ireri, Ipsos Synovate Managing Director.
Those who supported an increase for the legislators said it was unfair for them to earn less than what MPs in the 10th Parliament earned.
MPs and County Assembly members have been in heated debates that have spurred public emotions over complaints that the salaries they are getting are too low compared to the work they do.
Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi moved a Motion in Parliament to eject members of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) from office, for reducing lawmakers’ pay.
The SRC has however stood firm in rejecting the pay demands by Members of Parliament. The commission’s chairperson Sarah Serem said the economy could not sustain higher salaries due to low revenue collection and natural disasters.
“We have not been boxed into any corner. We are an independent commission and we are subject to no other direction other than the direction and authority of the Constitution,” she asserted.
Regarding the salaries and benefits of other State officials such as Governors, Senators and Commissioners 48 percent of those surveyed said their salaries should be reviewed, 44 percent were against, 4 percent were not sure and another 4 percent were confused.
The survey also showed that 73 percent thought that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s position on the matter of MPs salaries and benefits would affect the outcome of the controversy.
President Kenyatta has in recent weeks lashed out at elected leaders to stop dwelling on salary increments but to instead focus on the country’s development agenda.
Speaking during the burial of the late Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo, Kenyatta said it was disappointing that the leaders are busy complaining about salaries and trying to force through a pay hike.
“Sometimes it really hurts. Instead of asking how we are going to serve our people, we are asking ourselves how we are going to get more money in our pockets. Please let us do what is important first which is serving Kenyans. When we do this, I am sure the potential that we have can improve Kenya,” he stressed.
During the opening of the 11th Parliament, Kenyatta informed lawmakers that the government did not have money to support their salary demands and instead urged to focus on their work.
The Synovate poll was conducted between May 10 and 11 with 1,660 people interviewed.