NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 16 – Members of Parliament who will not have been allocated offices by the end of this month will be given Sh75,000 monthly for rent, the Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi says.
Muturi who is also the chairman of the Parliamentary Service Commission which is mandated to look into the welfare of lawmakers and Parliament’s staff said they have had a difficult time acquiring office in buildings near Parliament.
“We are working hard to ensure that each one of you has an office nearby; so that you can stop doing you work from your cars, private offices and on just a light note from your houses,” Muturi said.
This comes after the MPs complained that some of them have been forced to work from their cars, hotels while some have been seen meeting the constituents along Parliament Road and other streets.
Some MPs claimed they have been operating without offices for the last seven months.
“Up to today no one has explained to me why I don’t have an office. I have lied enough to my constituents that some of the think I don’t want to show them my where office is,” said Samburu West MP Jonathan Lati.
“Mr Speaker I have seen some of my colleagues listen to the suffering of their constituents outside there at the gate because they are not allowed to bring them in,” Juja MP Francis Waititu added. “Mr Speaker some are really suffering.”
A total of 133 members do not have offices to date.
Aldai MP Cornelly Serem said some members are very busy and most have offices far away from the city centre. “Let us accept and agree that there is a problem, unless the offices are available, we are bound to continue experiencing this problem,” he said.
The lack of space had earlier this year led to journalists on the Parliament beat to be kicked out the media centre which was established in 2009 under the leadership of ex-Speaker Kenneth Marende and former Clerk Patrick Gichohi with the assistance of the US government at a cost of over Sh2.5 million.
The order has since been rescinded after it was found that MPs rarely used the facility for committee meetings.
When members of the second bicameral Parliament in Kenya’s history since independence were sworn into office, they expected to be allocated offices with modern facilities befitting the title “honourable”.
The 349 MPs and 67 Senators expected to get offices in Continental House where they would not only transact business that cannot be done from the floor of the House, but would utilise state-of-the-art facilities, including a gym, swimming pool and sauna.
Leaders of the Majority and Minority parties in Parliament are being accommodated in Parliament while their equals in the Senate are at Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC).
The Parliamentary Service Commission Secretary and Senate Clerk Jeremiah Nyegenye said the central government has offered Parliament office space at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre and ministries previously hosted there ordered to vacate it.
Parliament will occupy all but three floors and the conference facilities at the landmark building in the centre of the capital, which will also be modified as necessary to host MPs’ offices.
The MPs and Senators, 418 in total, do not have sufficient offices and parking space and are overstretched on other limited shared facilities at Parliament Buildings.