, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 22 – President Mwai Kibaki on Thursday morning met Members of Parliament over their controversial pay increase and their defiance to take a one-month break.
The meeting however failed to get a clear outcome with members still divided over the issues.
Reports indicated that the President who is opposed to the pay increase said it would be effected in the next Parliament. Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta gave assurance that even after the enactment of a new Constitution – that states that no none shall be exempted from paying taxes – MPs will continue to enjoy their tax free perks to the end of their terms.
The two-hour meeting was also attended by National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka at Parliament buildings. But as soon as the President left the Chamber the MPs expressed reservations on the deal, with some saying that they were being duped into backing the Adjournment Motion.
The House has on two occasions failed to pass an Adjournment Motion. The government wants the House to adjourn its sittings to allow MPs a chance to participate in the campaigns for the proposed Constitution.
There were reports the government was planning to introduce the Motion through a Supplementary Order Paper in the House in Thursday afternoon’s session. Some MPs however insisted they would shoot down the Motion when it is moved, after they failed to agree whether to go on recess, and when the hefty perks will be implemented.
The meeting comes after weeks of a standoff between the MPs and the Executive which has seen the House adjourned prematurely on many occasion due to lack of business to transact.
On Wednesday, Speaker Kenneth Marende directed Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta to publish and table the Bills required for the increase of MPs\’ salaries or appear before Parliament to give sufficient reasons why he does not want to do so.
In his ruling on the Finance Minister’s refusal to implement the Akiwumi Report, the Speaker said Mr Kenyatta should respect House resolutions.
"If on the other hand, as it is perfectly possible, there are serious public and legal considerations that stand in the way of such publication, I will hold the firm view that the appropriate forum for the Minister to have stressed this position would be on the floor of the House," he said.
He added: "I think it is a legitimate expectation of this House that the Bills will be published."