, NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 17 – A Bill on the proposed retirement package of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and ex-Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka is set to be introduced in the National Assembly next Thursday.
Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi directed the chairman of the House Committee on Finance Benjamin Langat to submit a report on the Bill after Suba MP John Mbadi complained that the team had delayed debate on the Bill.
“The Standing Order 143 (b) is very clear that you should deal with it and return it back to the Speaker within 14 days, that provision is not open-ended, it is time bound,” Muturi said.
Mbadi who authored the Bill stated the committee had failed to process the Bill in 14 days after receiving it as required by the House Standing Orders.
“This Bill is very important, because this great Kenyans are not enjoying any benefits from the State and therefore Mr Speaker I would have liked to get a clarification why the committee has not lived to the spirit of the Standing Order and I would also like to know the position of the Bill,” he said while expressing concern over the delay.
But Langat claimed that he had forwarded the Bill to the Attorney General’s office and Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) for approval.
“We (the committee) have already discussed the same and we agreed that there was some consultation we were supposed to make with the Leader of Majority so that we look for a way forward but I can promise my friend that by next Thursday we will have given our comments as directed by the Speaker,” explained the Finance Committee chairman.
Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) Members of the National Assembly are seeking an amendment to the Presidential Retirement and Benefits Act enjoyed by former President Mwai Kibaki to confer similar State-funded retirement benefits on Odinga and Musyoka.
They said the CORD coalition leader should enjoy security, aides and domestic workers at State expense since he served as former President Kibaki’s co-principal for five years.
But MPs from the ruling Jubilee coalition have already vowed to block it in the House unless Odinga officially declares his retirement from politics.
Leader of the Majority Coalition in the National Assembly, Aden Duale said the former PM and former VP were not entitled to the perks as they were not retired State officers but politicians who lost March 4 elections yet remain active in politics.
Currently, the former premier is only entitled to his retirement benefits as a former MP, which is fixed by the National Assembly Remuneration Act that also defines the benefits due to Musyoka, the former Speaker and his deputy.
In January, former President Mwai Kibaki refused to sign into law the Retirement Benefits (Deputy President and Designated State Officers) Bill 2012 that sought to secure packages for the two, because it included clauses that would have given MPs in the Tenth Parliament entitlement to State funerals, and tripled their gratuity packages.
CORD MPs Mbadi and Mohammed Junet (Suna East) have recently signalled they would press for an amendment to the Act to include State-funded perks for Odinga, Musyoka, former Speaker of the Tenth Parliament Kenneth Marende and his deputy Farah Maalim.
Junet said they will justify the Bill by, among other things, noting that the Act in its current form is against the new Constitution since it does not include the deputy president who is elected with the president on the same ticket.
CORD will also seek to delete provision in the rejected Bill, which states that a beneficiary or their dependents could be denied the benefits if the person held office in or actively engaged in the activities of-any political party contrary to its provisions.