, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 4 – Two civil society groups have strongly condemned a move by Parliament to disband the Salaries and Remunerations Commission (SRC) saying the move is misguided.
The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and Kituo Cha Sheria separately argued that Parliament risked undermining the gains set out in the Constitution by jeopardising and intimidating the independent constitutional office.
LSK Chairman Eric Mutua said there was need to safeguard the integrity of such institutions adding that they must be protected.
“The commission cannot be disbanded for performing its constitutional mandate of harmonising salaries within the public sector. Constitutional bodies must be protected when undertaking their roles and mandate,” he argued.
He added that Article 251 of The Constitution provided reasons for removing members of independent commissions, but added that nothing warranted such action on the SRC.
“The major reasons include serious violation of the Constitution or any other law, gross misconduct, physical or mental incapacity, incompetency or bankruptcy,” Mutua said.
Kituo Cha Sheria Executive Director Gertrude Angote added that legislators who felt that the salary set by the SRC was not enough were at liberty to pursue more rewarding careers.
Angote also called on the SRC to remain firm and reject any attempts by the legislators to arm twist them into submission.
“The temptation and mischief of parliamentarians to determine their own salaries and benefits precipitated the creation of SRC. The MPs job is not to offer handouts to Kenyans, as some are agitating, but provide a hand to pull the country out of poverty,” she observed.
Angote added that the country’s economy was struggling with millions of youths remaining jobless yet the legislators’ drive remained personal gain.
She further asked President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto not to cave in to the MPs’ demands.
Legislators led by Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi have already filed a petition in Parliament seeking to have the SRC Commissioners home.
If it successfully goes through Parliament, President Kenyatta will have no choice but to set up a tribunal to investigate the SRC and if they are found wanting, the tribunal might call for their dismissal.
“This act by MPs is contrary to the ideals of leadership and integrity required of state officers under Chapter Six of the Constitution,” stressed Angote.
Members of Parliament are angered by SRC’s move to slash the MPs salaries from 532,000 shillings down from 851,000 shillings paid to former MPs who served in the 10th Parliament.