Outrage over Kenyan MPs pay demands

July 10, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 10- Human rights group, Kituo Cha Sheria has rubbished demands by Members of Parliament to have their salary increment proposal effected before they break for recess.

The MPs who were scheduled to take a month long break on Thursday to give them time to focus on the referendum campaigns refused to go on recess for the third time in a row until their salaries were increased.

"It is very sad especially coming at a time when the country\’s economy is not doing very well and when the country is supposed to be in transition. Remember we are in a grand coalition government so that we prepare for a proper government. This is a time to just reflect and prepare our systems," Kituo Cha Sheria Executive Director Priscilla Nyokabi said.

She also said that the MPs did not want the proposed new constitution passed before they got the increment as it would reduce chances of them getting the raise in future.

Ms Nyokabi explained that the chapter on salaries and remuneration (Article 230) as proposed by the new law would ensure that the perks of all public officials were well regulated with little room for manipulation.

"The salaries and Remuneration Commission will oversee salaries of all public officials including MPs. Its appointment is very well stated because it will have only one person from the Teachers\’ Service Commission, one from the Judicial Service Commission, one from the National Police Service Commission, one from the Defense Council, one from the Parliamentary Service Commission, one from the Public Service Commission, and some members from the senate," she said.

She also asked the Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta to stay put and not give in to the whims of the law makers claiming that their (MPs) participation in the referendum campaigns would have no impact on the August 4 vote outcome.

"I believe Kenyans can make informed decisions and it is not a big loss because MPs just bring more confusion. Instead of them clarifying issues a lot of them as we have seen in terms of how they are reading the contentious clauses don\’t read the full clause and read them out of context," she said.

Meanwhile Kenyans interviewed by Capital News also expressed their anger towards the conditions placed by MPs before they (MPs) took a break.

A section of Kenyan said that they had already made up their minds on how they would vote at the referendum and that the MPs would not influence their decision in any way.

"Even if they don\’t go for recess or what Kenyans are already sensitized they are going to vote either \’yes\’ or \’no\’. it is not jst politicians who can influence people\’s vote. We have civil societies," said city resident, Niko Kamau.

"The draft constitution is a Kenyans\’ document and MPs are just 210 let them give Kenya a peace of mind. We will decide on August 4th. This train will not stop because they want it stopped or derailed," Mr Kamau said.

Ms Nyokabi also complained against the terms given by the law makers saying they were unfair to other civil servants.

"I don\’t know what they (MPs) will tell a police officer whose salary should be added but they must have to wait for three years for that salary to come in and then for MPs it is not even that they have to wait three years but they backdate three years," she said.

The MPs were first meant to take a one month break on Thursday last week to give them time to campaign for the referendum. 

If Parliament goes on recess before the Bills are passed, and the Constitution passes in next month\’s referendum, chances of MPs getting the pay hike will be nil since lawmakers\’ pay will be determined by an independent commission.

Capital News has further learnt that the plan to frustrate government Bills on the floor of the House if the Bills to legalise their increment are not be tabled is not limited to the backbench MPs but has now drawn in members of the Cabinet.


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