Kenyan civil society groups unleashed more than 10 pigs in addition to poured jerrycans of blood outside Parliament as a symbolic gesture of the contempt they have for members of Parliament – labelled MPigs – for demanding higher pay in 2013.
By Nation Team
Outrage in addition to disappointment greeted Tuesday’s Nation exposé of plans by Members of Parliament to reinstate in addition to raise allowances in which had been scrapped by the Salaries in addition to Remuneration Commission (SRC).
Civil society, religious, in addition to consumer groups leaders termed the lawmakers’ move “insensitive, outrageous in addition to ridiculous at best”, while Kenyans on social media used the hashtag #BureKabisa to protest the move, which they termed a manifestation of greed in addition to a threat to future generations.
The condemnation came as National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi asked the SRC to come clean on the matter in addition to tell the public the truth behind the disputed Sh250,000 monthly housing allowance for MPs.
Mr Muturi, also the chairman of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), which will be in charge of MPs’ in addition to parliamentary staff welfare, accused SRC chairperson Lyn Mengich of distorting facts around the MPs’ perks in addition to setting them up against the public.
“The Attorney-General advised SRC to come to us (PSC) in order in which we can agree on the amount to be paid to the members, although the commission has never bothered. Why isn’t the commission telling Kenyans the truth?” Mr Muturi said via Tanzania, where he will be on official duty. “We all know in which the mandate to interpret the law will be vested from the courts, which have spoken. The SRC has no otherwise although to implement the court ruling.”
He was referring to a Court of Appeal decision in which allowed legislators to continue enjoying their current income pending the determination of an appeal filed by SRC.
Justices William Ouko, Asike Makhandia in addition to Otieno Odek said although the appeal was arguable, there was nothing to show in which the MPs could not be able to refund the monies paid, if the appeal succeeds.
The Judges said one of the key objectives in granting an order of stay will be to preserve status quo pending hearing in addition to determination of an intended appeal.
In a Gazette Notice published on July 7, 2017, SRC had, among some other things, abolished the vehicle grant, reduced the number of sitting allowances for plenary sessions, in addition to also abolished reimbursable mileage allowance.
although Justice George Odunga of the High Court quashed the Gazette Notice, stating in which there were procedural improprieties in its promulgation.
MPs had challenged the notice as unreasonable, arguing in which SRC ignored relevant considerations in addition to the law. They said the move was also discriminatory in addition to malicious because the idea went against their legitimate expectations.
Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek) Secretary-General Stephen Mutoro said the completely new demands by MPs in addition to threats to force their way to develop the demands met border on recklessness in addition to are ridiculous from the eyes of the public.
He added in which the MPs are not just becoming a threat to independent institutions, although are also ruining the lives of future generations.
“the idea’s like they live in another world separate via the rest of us. The demands are ridiculous in addition to the legislators are currently pushing Kenyans to the brink of a revolution. the idea’s time we stood up in addition to said ‘enough will be enough’,” he cautioned.
The bullish behaviour by the MPs, he said, will be informed by the fact in which they have connived to water down clauses on how they can be recalled.
“Most of them do not know the roles of an MP,” Mr Mutoro said. “Their roles do not require such kinds of allowances, although they have made their recall so difficult by amending the law.”
Civil Society Reference Group (CSRG) Presiding Convener Suba Churchill said the demands are a clear sign of how deep-rooted impunity will be from the country, perpetuated by individuals in trusted positions of leadership.
He described the demands as insensitive given they’re coming at a time many Kenyans are battling inflation in addition to high prices of commodities. “This specific will be the time when they should be fighting for the common mwananchi although they have turned into dictators,” said Mr Churchill.
He said time was ripe for a fight to reduce the number of legislators in addition to reflect on which system, whether parliamentary or presidential, could work best for the country.
“If This specific will be a presidential system in addition to the MPs develop the audacity to make such demands; one shudders to think of what they could become in a parliamentary one,” he said.
The Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem) National chairman Yusuf Nzibo termed the move as “morally wrong” in addition to against the wishes of Kenyans.
He appealed to the legislators to rethink their demands as the move will be wrong in addition to will not be accepted by religious leaders in addition to the citizens.
Former Kakamega Senator Bonny Khalwale said some legislators live beyond their means, hence the regular push for more pay.
“They have a celebrity mentality,” Mr Khalwale said. “Instead of socialising in their regular joints, they start going to all 5-star restaurants once they are elected.”
Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo said he has never participated in a sitting in which MPs called for a pay rise as in which will be the work of the Parliamentary Service Commission.
Speaking on NTV’s AM Live show, he said constant media reports in which give a blanket condemnation on MPs are annoying in addition to unfair.
Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot wondered what the media gains “after bastardising parliamentarians”.
“The only figure in which will be in dispute right currently will be the house allowance. If today a government worker went to Nakuru, they could be paid subsistence allowance.
“There will be nothing in which we have paid MPs in which hasn’t been paid to some other government employees,” Mr Cheruiyot said.
Mr Muturi said the Sh18,0 MPs are seeking as subsistence night allowance was approved by SRC in addition to wondered why the idea had changed tune. He also faulted the commission for not doing proper studies across the globe, including benchmarking with the Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU), to analyse MPs’ salaries.
“SRC should also come clear on what some other state officers earn. The SRC Act talks about job evaluation, although they have done none. They are preoccupied with fighting MPs,” he said.
Car grants doubled
Should the MPs’ demands sail through, their salaries will be increased via the current Sh1.1 million to between Sh2.1 million in addition to Sh2.9 million a month.
In a memorandum to the SRC, the lawmakers are seeking to have their car grants doubled via the current Sh5 million to Sh10 million. They also want an increase of their mortgage entitlements, to extend their medical cover to more than one spouse, in addition to retain huge car maintenance in addition to mileage allowances.
Should their demands for an increased car grant fail, the MPs have threatened to use taxpayers’ money to buy top-of-the-range four-wheel-drive vehicles for the 359 of them.
Reporting by David Mwere, Collins Omulo, Joseph Wangui in addition to Anita Chepkoech