NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 3 – The Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi says he has not been served with a court order barring MPs from receiving higher pay.
Speaking after presiding over the swearing-in of MPs and Senators to serve in the Parliamentary Service Commission, the Muturi said Parliament would follow the law in the matter.
“Parliament has a responsibility to do what it is supposed to do under the Constitution. I expect other arms of government to do theirs; so those who think they will want to serve us with court orders – and other orders from wherever they have been obtained – they are at liberty to do so,” the Speaker stated.
The Law Society of Kenya and an activist had moved to court last week asking the High Court to block the Parliamentary Service Commission and Clerks of both Houses from paying parliamentarians Sh851,000 after the MPs quashed a gazette notice published by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission indicating that the legislators should earn Sh532,000.
High Court judge David Majanja barred payment of the Sh851,000 until the matter is determined.
Muturi said on Monday that the PSC – which he chairs – would engage with all other government agencies to resolve the salaries row.
“This commission has just been sworn-in; I am not going to tell you that we will be doing this or the other. The chairman chairs meeting and the decision will be taken by the commission.” Muturi continued. “We will make decisions based on the interests of both Kenyans and those under whose charge the commission is responsible.”
Eldas MP Adan Keynan, Nominated MP Regina Nyeris and Homa Bay County Woman Representative Gladys Wanga were sworn in as PSC members representing the National Assembly while Senators Sammy Leshore, David Musila and Beth Mugo will represent the Senate in the Commission.
The MPs’ demand for a higher salary has elicited widespread public condemnation but the legislators maintain they are fighting for their rights.
Meanwhile, civil society groups are planning to stage another demonstration next Tuesday to press MPs drop their salary increase demands.
“Members of civil society and other Kenyans are free to riot and do whatever other things that are permitted under the Constitution including picketing. But of course everybody is reminded that there are no absolute freedoms and rights; my right must also respect yours,” Speaker Muturi said.
A civil society group last month staged a demonstration dubbed ‘Occupy Parliament’ to criticise the MPs’ clamour for a pay hike.
The group blocked the main entrance to Parliament using pigs and smeared animal blood on the road as a demonstration of lawmakers’ greed.