, NAIROBI, Kenya, April 21 – The National Civil Society Congress has criticised the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) for supporting legislator Mithika Linturi’s bid to disband the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).
At a press briefing on Sunday, the society’s Executive Co-ordinator Odhiambo Oyoko accused COTU’s Secretary General Francis Atwoli of involving himself in matters that are not within his mandate.
“You need to remind Atwoli who has been acting as the unofficial trade unionist for the MPs that he should not be advocating for the rights of people who are already paid more than they should be.”
Atwoli had on Saturday declared his support for Linturi’s petition to parliament accusing the SRC of being retrogressive by reducing instead of increasing MPs pay to reflect the growing economy.
“You cannot make a worker worse by reducing his salary or paying retrogressively; that is discrimination and you will be applying unfair labour practices and creating poverty,” Atwoli said at his own press briefing on Saturday.
The COTU Secretary General’s sentiments contradicts those of the National Civil Society Congress with Oyoko accusing MPs of being more concerned about their lavish lifestyles than national development.
Linturi’s push to remove members of the salaries and remuneration commission has continued to elicit reactions with the Constitution and Reform Education Consortium (CRECO) being the latest to add their voice to the debate.
CRECO shares the sentiments already expressed by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) and the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) declaring Linturi’s petition to be selfish.
“The excuses and justifications that the MPs peddle to push for this agenda are fundamentally flawed and purely selfish. Stating that they spent a lot of money in campaigning, or that they left higher paying jobs and therefore ought to have higher pay and allowances in order to recoup their money is not only baseless but a justification to use public position to unjustifiably enrich themselves,” a statement from CRECO’s Executive Secretary Wambua Kawive reads.
Adding their voice to that of KNCHR, CRECO have called on the MPs unhappy with their sh535,000 pay to resign instead of attempting to strong-arm the SRC, “If they do not want to serve their country and her people then they should let those who want to serve to do so.”
CRECO has called on Linturi to withdraw his petition or risk being forced out of public office, “Let him and his cohorts know that Article 104 gives the electorate the power and right to recall the member of parliament representing their constituency before the end of the end of the relevant House of Parliament – this is tenable despite the 10th Parliament making a weak provision on it.”
Three days ago, Linturi made public his intention to see the members of the SRC removed from office for what he termed, “discriminating against members of the National Assembly” by revising their salaries downward.
The members of the 10th parliament, of which Linturi was a part, earned a gross salary of Sh851, 000 but the members of the 11th parliament will now be earning Sh535, 000 before tax.