NAIROBI, Kenya, May 30 – Members of Parliament got a slap in the face after the High Court on Thursday barred the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) from paying them salaries higher than the Sh532,000, recommended by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).
Justice David Majanja gave the orders following a suit filed by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), which is among other things asking the court to nullify any action taken by MPs aimed at determining their own salaries.
LSK is represented in the case by lawyer Nzamba Kitonga.
All the parties were ordered to appear in court on Friday at noon for more direction in the matter, which was filed under a certificate of urgency.
“We are asking the court to declare that Parliament has no power to revoke the Gazette Notice by the SRC; that Parliament has no power to decide its own salaries and that it is only the SRC that can do that,” Kitonga told Capital FM News on phone on Thursday.
“We also want the court to declare that any action taken by Parliament in determining salaries as null and void and that the plan to remove SRC Commissioners from office is unconstitutional because they cannot be removed from office for doing their job.”
LSK Chairman Eric Mutua had on Wednesday maintained that the action by MPs was illegal because they did not have powers to legislate and interpret laws at the same time.
“We will be in court on Thursday and if not, the following day seeking an interpretation of the roles that MPs are required to play. We need to know if they can be the makers and interpreters of the law,” he had said.
The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) as well as the SRC had on Wednesday threatened to take legal action against the PSC in the event that they awarded a higher pay to MPs.
And to add salt to injury, the CIC said it would also target individual MPs who drew a salary higher than that set by the SRC in addition to seeking a Court order that would direct them to refund such monies.
“The Constitution in Article 226 (5) clearly states that any officer who makes such payment takes personal responsibility and we would also be seeking to ensure that these officers refund such benefits,” CIC Chairman Charles Nyachae had said.
The emotive matter has taken the country by storm and MPs are now threatening to slash the President’s, Deputy President’s and Judiciary’s pay by 57 percent.