Fresh bid to exclude lawmakers from SRC ambit opposed

August 23, 2013 3:05 pm
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Members of Parliament want to amend some sections of Article 260 of the constitution that defines them as State officers/FILE
Members of Parliament want to amend some sections of Article 260 of the constitution that defines them as State officers/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 23 – The Salaries and Remuneration Commission is opposed to an amendment that will remove the Members of Parliament, Judges and Magistrates and Members of County Assembly from being categorised as State Officers.

Members of Parliament want to amend some sections of Article 260 of the constitution that defines them as State officers.

The move will mean the three groups will be exempt from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), which has a mandate to set and regularly review the remuneration and benefits of all State officers.

If passed into law, SRC says the Bill will have far reaching implications, not only in the determination of remuneration and benefits in the public sector in Kenya, but also the governance of the country.

The commission notes that the timing and motivation of the amendment by Parliament does not bode well for the country.

They say this is prone to abuse and prejudice in awarding themselves unjustified high wages and benefits leading to a bloated wage bill.

The said chapter focuses more on State Officers and an amendment to exclude persons in leadership positions from being State officers will prevent them from the application of the chapter.

Some of the complications noted by SRC likely to occur if the Bill is passed are; it does not provide a clear way in the description of the offices that it seeks to exclude.

“How will the MPs, Judges and Magistrates and Members of County Assembly be defined? In addition, provisions on each of the offices, conduct, financial probity and citizenship among others will cease to apply to them.”

They also say it will go against the underlying principle behind delegated sovereignty to elected representatives as they will be acting on their own interest and against that of the people they represent.

The Sarah Serem-led commission further says it will cause inequities since without centralised regulation of salaries, disparities will continue to exist and even increase, thereby creating inequities in pay.

“For instance, the SRC approved a salary structure for National Assembly members, Judiciary and Members of County Assembly at a cost of Sh1.25 billion as opposed to Sh8.43 billion if they were to award themselves their salaries,” a statement sent to newsrooms explained.

SRC says that any amendments must be compelling and with main reason being to advance the public good while ensuring legal, political and economic stability.

The amendment will leave MPs under the jurisdiction of the Parliamentary Service Commission, as has been the case before.

Judges and Magistrates will be under the Judicial Service Commission but it is not clear where members of the County Assemblies will fall.

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