NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 24 – The National Assembly concluded debate on the president’s Speech on Wednesday with MPs insisting on reinstating their pay to what their predecessors in the 10th Parliament earned before review by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.
The MPs have been protesting after the salaries team slashed their monthly pay from Sh851,000 to Sh535,000.
In response, SRC chairperson Sarah Serem had said the commission put into consideration the economy and the living standards of the majority when setting the new pay package for elective and senior public officers.
Rarieda Member of Parliament Nicholas Gumbo called for the reduction of commissioners to independent commissions if the rising country’s wage bill is to be curbed.
Contributing to the debate, Gumbo cited the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission and the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution, saying commissioners cannot account for their hefty pay.
Gumbo while agreeing with the president that there is need to curb the rising wage bill, lamented that the membership of the said commissions is bloated, calling for a reduction.
He also wants the remaining commissioners to work on part time basis, since they do not have much to do in the commissions.
His sentiments come at a time legislators, led by Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi have been agitating for a pay rise.
Nyeri legislator Esther Murugi while hailing the president’s speech, called on the government to come up with innovative ways of harvesting rain water that is currently wreaking havoc in parts of the country, in readiness of any drought that may face the country in future.
ODM nominated legislator Isaac Mwaura faulted the president’s speech for failing to address issues facing people with disabilities.
During the four days allocated for the House to debate the speech, MPs praised President Uhuru Kenyatta’s speech in Parliament but urged him to ensure devolution is fully implemented.
MPs from across the political divide said Kenyatta’s government policy reflects the aspiration of all Kenyans.
They said even though Kenyatta said he is committed to fully implementing the Constitution including devolution, he should ensure governors carry out their duties without interference from the central government.
The cost of living, free laptops, lack of fertilizers and salaries among others featured heavily in the parliamentary session as MPs debated the speech.
Leader of Minority Coalition in the National Assembly Francis Nyenze and Suba MP John Mbadi faulted the Jubilee government’s plans to give free laptops to class one pupils, saying it make no sense especially in arid and semi-arid areas like Turkana where they needed food first before anything else to remain in school.
Nyenze termed Kenyatta’s speech as ‘ambitious’. The Kitui West MP singled out the promise to give schoolchildren laptops saying it impractical as it is expensive.
Other MPs added the Jubilee government should first increase the number of teachers, build classes and equip schools with learning facilities such as books.
Some suggested that instead of handing out laptops to individual pupils, the government should set up computer laboratories in schools where the children can access them.
Kenyatta had pledged that the ambitious project will commence when the new academic year begins next January.
Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale assured MPs that Kenyatta’s government is committed to implementing every promise made in the speech.