NAIROBI, Kenya, May 11 – Members of County Assemblies across the country have vowed not to play their legislative role in the devolved governments until the central government gives in to their demands for a pay increase.
They have formed a committee led by Mandera County Assembly majority leader Robow Mohammed to present their grievances to the government.
The County Representatives said that their current pay of Sh79,000 was not reasonable, considering the sizes of their wards and their distance to the County Assemblies.
Mohamed claimed the Salaries and Remuneration Commission wants devolution to fail by proposing unreasonable salaries that are not proportional to what other elected leaders are earning.
“The cost of living has not come down but today we are taking less of what councillors used to get,” Mohammed said.
“Members of the public have been complaining about our demands. In my county, the (County Assembly) is located 400km away from the furthest ward. How do you expect them (county representatives) to attend all the sittings and they do not have cars? The business shall not been as usual as the government and SRC think.”
“The County Assemblies have been accused of many things; the divine Jesus Christ of Nazareth went through many challenges and conquered, Mahatma Gandhi and many others were also accused of many things and therefore I urge all not to give in. It is our time to prove our detractors wrong,” he retorted.
The majority leader of Mombasa County Assembly and the committee’s Treasurer Khamis Mwabashiri said they had used a lot of money during their campaigns and now are faced with enormous responsibilities.
“We are not begging since this is our right, we have more responsibilities like in my County where the governor presented to the House a 31 billion budget and we are the same people expected to pass it,” he lamented.
“How do they expect us to be responsible for such a huge amount of money while we do not have? This will even increase corruption since there is no way we shall be approached with money to pass certain Bills and refuse,” Mwabashiri warned.
“People expect us to contribute during fundraisings, burial and all other events. Where shall this money come from if one cannot rent a Sh5,000 house for his family?” Nairobi Majority Leader and Vice Chairman to the committee said.
Their demands come a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta urged leaders to put the interest of the country first while attending the burial of the late Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo.
“Sometimes it really hurts. Instead of asking how we are going to serve our people, we are asking ourselves how we are going to get more money in our pockets. Please let us do what is important first which is serving Kenyans. When we do this, I am sure the potential that we have can improve Kenya,” he asserted.