NAIROBI, Kenya, May 3 – Twenty two civil society groups are up in arms over the hefty pay demands by Members of the National Assembly saying they are misguided.
Led by Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) Executive Director Atsango Chesoni, the group said the MPs were misleading Kenyans by claiming that the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) did not consult them.
Chesoni noted that MPs had two representatives championing their interests in the SRC who were consulted when the salaries of public servants were being reviewed.
Article 230 (2) of the Constitution sets out the structure of the SRC giving one slot in the 14 member Commission to a nominated person from the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) and another from the Senate.
“At a time when Kenyans are looking for a break from the past, legislators are hell bent on increasing their salaries through threats to the SRC. The timing and show of collective greed is in total disregard of the values of the Constitution,” she argued.
CRECO Executive Director Kawive Wambua said that after adding up the salaries and total allowances each MP would be pocketing about Sh1.2 million per month.
He said that they should stop crying wolf because their salaries had not been slashed as they had not yet occupied office when the rates were gazetted.
Wambua explained that even if their pay remained as it was they would each take home a gross of about Sh6.3 million annually which would then accrue to Sh31 million at the end of their five year term.
In five years, this will leave an approximate Sh11 billion dent in the Exchequer.
The PSC has already set aside Sh841.2 million as the total basic pay for MPs and the Speaker in the new financial year starting July 1.
“Basic salary is Sh395,000, vehicle fixed cost allowance is Sh336,000, car maintenance allowance is Sh247,000 and the house allowance is Sh70,000,” he claimed.
“They also have Sh60,000 entertainment allowance, Sh50,000 constituency allowance, Sh40,000 committee meeting allowance and Sh2,000 gym membership,” he said.
The civil societies accused the legislators of arm-twisting the SRC and cowing them into submission arguing that there was need to expend their energies into more serious national issues like insecurity, food and infrastructure development.
Parliament has already initiated a vigorous petition to send the SRC Commissioners home.
“The reasons so far stated by the legislators do not meet the standards for removal from office of members of the SRC,” argued Chesoni.
Transparency International-Kenya Executive Director Samuel Kimeu also reminded the legislators to deliver on the promises they made to the electorate before demanding for a hike.
He argued that it would be unfortunate if the Members reneged on their vows of service to Kenyans saying they should be recalled.
“We call upon all Kenyans to say no to this unconstitutional conduct and daylight robbery. Members of Parliament must be reminded that ‘Bunge sio biashara’,” he said.
The 10th Parliament however almost took away the power of Kenyans to recall them when they amended the Elections Act.
A Member of Parliament can only be recalled after 24 months of being in office and 12 months before the next General Election.
The petitioner must also get 30 percent support from registered voters in that constituency in addition to 15 percent voters’ support in all the wards in the constituency.
In addition to this, the petition must be taken to the High Court which will then confirm whether a recall is necessary. No time limit is given for this and it would take more than one year.
The petitioner must also deposit Sh500,000 with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).