Cutting MPs’ numbers among Aukot 14-point agenda for national dialogue

January 26, 2018 7:01 pm
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Thirdway Alliance leader Ekuru Aukot when he addressed the press on Friday/CFM

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 26 – The Thirdway Alliance has released a 14-point agenda upon which it wants a national dialogue anchored.

Party leader Ekuru Aukot recommended during a press conference on Friday that the talks be centred on ending extreme poverty and corruption.

According to Aukot, there is need to expedite the hearing of corruption cases by placing a timeline of 60 days within which such matters are to be heard and concluded in the courts.

He said investigations should be limited to 30 days to facilitate the quick conclusion of corruption cases adding that those convicted should not only return the irregularly acquired wealth but also pay an additional 10 per cent of the value of the dubiously acquired wealth, or have them declared bankrupt.

“The Auditor General reports should be used as the basis of initiating investigation, as well as being the first piece of evidence; and how each issue raised on the audit reports must be prosecuted without fail,” the Thirdway candidate in the 2017 presidential election remarked accompanied by his running mate Emmanuel Nzai among other leaders.

“We need to devise a mechanism to punish investigators and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the event any of the issues raised in Auditor General reports are not prosecuted,” Aukot added.

Thirdway also recommended the expansion of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) medical cover to infinity to ensure Kenyans get medical attention even for the most complex sicknesses.

“NHIF medical cover should be used to settle bills without any limit in all public health institutions,” the party recommended.

Also recommended is the increase of referral hospitals in the country by establishing at least one facility in each region over the next four years to end congestion at Kenyatta National and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospitals.

Setting aside of Sh1 billion annually for postgraduate programs for doctors to encourage specialization was cited by Thirdway as to achieving better medical care for the country’s citizenry.

“We also need to provide various incentives including corporate tax waivers to attract local investment in pharmaceutical manufacturing.”

Other areas Thirdway wants to be addressed include improving the quality of education, access to clean water, ending negative ethnicity, employment creation, food security, strengthening devolution, security reforms, addressing the public debt, and reduction of the number of lawmakers to cut down on the ballooning wage bill which devours over fifty per cent of the nation’s annual income.

In an attempt to reduce the public wage bill, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) in July last year slashed hefty allowances earned by parliamentarians even as it reviewed salaries of State officers, including that of the President, Deputy President, and Cabinet Secretaries.

The cancellation of mileage and sitting allowances was however challenged in court by the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) in December last year, with an injunction allowing the payment of the same pending the conclusion of a suit filed by PSC being enforced.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi on Thursday defended the move to reintroduce the mileage saying it was a common practice world over.

“Mileage is paid worldwide in recognition to the fact that a Member of Parliament has two workstations – the Parliament and his constituency. All over the world MPs are reimbursed,” Speaker Muturi said.

Lawmakers are entitled to Sh108 per kilometre. The mileage cap set at 750km was also challenged with legislators whose constituencies are within close proximity to the city seeing it a scheme to deny them the allowances.

Speaker Muturi also denied claims that MPs would claim mileage allowances dating back from the date of their swearing-in.

The court will resume Monday next week for the hearing of the PSC case.

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