NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 19 – Parliament wields immense power in determining the fate of the chairperson and commissioners at the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, according to former Committee of Experts member Bobby Mkangi.
Speaking to Capital FM News, Mkangi – who was in the team that drafted the country’s current Constitution – said that the president will be obligated to constitute a tribunal headed by a judge of a superior court to investigate the commissioners, against claims of violating the constitution in determining MPs’ salaries.
Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi has already filed a petition in Parliament to have the SRC commissioners removed from office. Should the National Assembly vote in favour of the petition, president Uhuru Kenyatta will have to form a tribunal within 30 days.
“It’s the tribunal that would recommend eventually for the removal of any member of a commission. So if the National Assembly in this particular regard wishes to see the removal out of office of the SRC chairperson then they have to follow the procedure in Article 251.”
The petition received by the Clerk of the National Assembly on Thursday was drafted within the ambit of Article 251 (1) of the Constitution and which outlines the procedure of removing a member of a commission from office or holder of an independent office.
The provision states that a person desiring the removal of a member of a commission or of a holder of an independent office may present a petition to the National Assembly setting out the alleged facts.
Once the National Assembly gets the petition, it shall consider it and if satisfied that it discloses sufficient grounds, shall send the petition to the president.
“On receiving a petition, the president may suspend the member or office holder pending the outcome of the complaint; and shall appoint a tribunal.”
Mkangi pointed out that the Constitution in addition to the Salaries and Remuneration Commission Act provides that Sarah Serem’s team shall gazette its final proposal after collecting public opinion on its preliminary proposals.
He said; “It would be out of order for the commission to make proposals and then take it to the very people it will affect for them to make the final decision. We might as well not have the commission if that is the mode of operation.”
Mkangi is now advising MPs who are dissatisfied with the 532,000 pay package to resign from Parliament instead of threatening the mandate of constitutional commission office holders.
“The normal modus operandi is if you are offered a job and you do not like the offer in terms of remuneration and benefits; you cannot take it and then start fighting over remuneration and you have not even started working.”
“The parliamentarians need to take in consideration whether the country’s economy can handle what they are demanding,” he added
The salaries commission set a new pay structure under which county governors will earn Sh640,681 while Senators and MPs will earn Sh532,500 in the first year.
Linturi said that he was not fighting for an increment of MPs’ salaries but was against the conduct of SRC during the salaries review.
“I am not advocating for an increment in the pay of MPs or other state officers, what I am against is the procedure the Serem Commission used in determining the salary scales,” argues Linturi.
“What the Serem Commission did was purely unacceptable since it did not bring the proposals to the MPs.”