NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 11 – There was acrimony in Parliament on Thursday as MPs put up a spirited fight in defence of their salaries, arguing that other constitutional office holders were already earning more than them.,
Temporary Speaker Joyce Laboso had a difficult time controlling debate and was forced to order Makadara MP Gidion Mbuvi aka Sonko and his Belgut counterpart Charles Keter out of the Chamber.
Sonko who is no stranger to attracting the Speaker’s wrath, was ejected after he shouted ‘mwizi wewe’ (You are a thief) as Transport Minister and Deputy Leader of Government Business Amos Kimunya was addressing the House. Keter was also ejected for being disorderly.
MPs Charles Kilonzo (Yatta), Charles Onyancha (Bonchari), Joshua Kutuny (Cherengany), Nicholas Gumbo (Rarieda) and Rachael Shebesh (Nominated) questioned why heads of constitutional commissions such as the Comission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) were earning hefty salaries.
“We don’t understand why the TJRC and CIC chairman can get Sh1.2 million yet they are doing nothing,” said Kutuny.
Finance Assistant Minister Oburu Odinga equally had a difficult time in trying to give a satisfactory answer to a question filed by Onyancha who wanted the Treasury to state salaries and allowances for all the commissioners of the commissions set out in the Constitution and the total wage bill to the taxpayer.
“MPs have been condemned for taking home Sh3 million or Sh9 million at times… how much is the chairman of the CIC and other commissioners paid in terms of gratuity and what is the basis of that calculation?” Bura MP Abdi Nuh inquired.
“We are not going to be ashamed of fighting for our rights, because our rights are enshrined, just like the rights of commissioners and other public officers. Is it in order Madame Speaker for us to always be labeled and hide because we want votes?” asserted Shebesh.
Ikolomani MP Boni Khalwale was jeered by MPS for telling the House to wait for determination by the Salaries and Renumeration Commission.
“Could we not pause for a moment and allow this Commission to advice the national government, so that the MP and other State officers can know what they will earn, instead of seeming to be fighting over this salaries business; and in the process making our politics unnecessarily difficult and our life ridiculed?” he said.
Kilonzo told the Finance Assistant Minister that they will not pass the VAT Bill which the government is moving to get funds to pay salary increment pledges for teachers, lecturers and doctors.