, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 16 – 17 Members of Parliament mainly from Central and Nairobi regions have signed a petition calling on the Salaries and Remuneration Commission to abolish mileage claims by their colleagues.
Led by Makadara MP Benson Mutura, the lawmakers claimed most of their colleagues were abusing the privilege as some sought reimbursement even when they had not travelled to their constituencies.
“This system is prone to abuse as members don’t have to prove that they travelled to their local constituencies for reimbursement to be done,” said Mutura.
He said some were earning up to Sh600,000 every week, translating to Sh2.4 million per member a month, besides the Sh5 million grant given to them for purchasing vehicles.
The taxpayer is forced to part with approximately Sh150 million monthly to pay for MPs’ travel allowances, an issue Mutura and his colleagues say is extravagant and wasteful.
“It is important that the country’s leadership leads by example in reducing the wage bill; we should not be seen to be preaching water and drinking wine,” he added.
They also urged the Sarah Serem-led SRC to consider switching from allocating mileage allowances and instead issue air tickets to cut on the costs.
“Our air travel is a bit more advanced than it was a while back, most areas of this can now be accessed through air,” Mutura stated.
“Our leaders are pampered, we are pampered a lot… we need to also sacrifice so that we can be able to save some of that money to go to other needy areas,” Mutura pointed out.
Members who benefit from the allowance including Nyatike MP Omondi Anyanga however lashed out at the lot calling for abolishing of mileage claims accusing them of being envious.
“I call that nonsense; if they want mileage given to Nairobi MPs, let them come up with their own proposals. Let people be sober because some MPs are becoming absent-minded,” he said.
Wajir North MP Abdi Saney who comes from the farthest constituency bordering Ethiopia said the allowance was legitimate and was based on set criteria adding that any entitlement should not be taken away.
He urged the 17 MPs to visit his constituency to get first-hand experience of how the mileage allowance comes in handy and why it isn’t as extravagant as they made it seem.
“Let them then move Parliament to Wajir North constituency and I will be comfortable not having mileage at all,” he hit back.
Anyanga and Saney dismissed claims that certain Mps were manipulating their odometer readings to justify travel saying those raising alarm should table evidence to substantiate their allegations.