, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 26 – Attorney General Amos Wako was on Friday shoving off critics over his newly doubled salary, saying it was long overdue.
Mr Wako said that the new perks were authorised by the Cabinet last year together with those of other senior government officials. However, he added, Parliament had to approve the new perks for constitutional office holders.
Parliament on Wednesday approved a 100 percent pay hike for Kenya’s longest-serving AG, bringing it up to Sh1.7 million.
“This was agreed to on recommendation from the Permanent Review Board as part of the harmonisation taking into consideration what other people earn,” he said in his defense arguing that the team had researched widely in the government and the region.
“And I can tell you even now some people who have fewer responsibilities than the Attorney General earn more than what I am going to earn.”
Government-friendly legislators teamed up to defeat attempts by backbenchers to delete the salary review provision from the Miscellaneous Amendment Bill 2009 which was passed by the House on Thursday. Those against the pay hike said that the review was ill timed owing to the prevailing economic times.
“It (would have been) completely unjust and unfair for Parliament not to have approved; others whose salaries were approved together with ours have been enjoying them for a year but we have waited,” he added.
Others who benefited from significant raises are Chief Justice Evan Gicheru, judges and commissioners of the Public Service Commission and the Electoral Commission of Kenya. However junior officers in these organisations were left out but Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo has promised to push for their pay review.
“MPs, teachers and other civil servants have all had their perks reviewed several on times while those of constitutional office holders have not been reviewed for the last eight years,” Mr Wako continued.
The Miscellaneous Bill also amended the controversial Media Bill with a view to remove offensive clauses. An Independent Broadcast Commission will now be created to monitor content.
Legislators also amended the Constitutional Amendment Act to fix the timelines of the Constitution making process and legalise the contribution of specific interest groups.
The AG disputed claims that he was rushing the bill through the house for selfish gains and stated that the other provisions in the new law were crucial to the country.