President did well to reject selfish MPs’ bill

What you need to know:

  • Former MPs served their time, were paid their dues and should be content with what they earned.
  • There is a formula for calculating pension; it is based on employees’ contribution.

President Uhuru Kenyatta did the right thing to reject a bill that sought to give hefty pension to former MPs.

As we argued when the matter was being debated in Parliament, there was no justification for introducing the amendment Bill in the first place. It was irrational and imprudent.

Citizens are groaning over high tax burden. The economy is tanking. There are many pressing demands that the government should deal with. Coronavirus pandemic has worsened the situation. Any payout from the Exchequer, therefore, has to be rationalised.

Former MPs served their time, were paid their dues and should be content with what they earned. It is not the business of taxpayers to cushion the former MPs. Not when everybody else is tightening the belt and reeling under economic recession.

Importantly, the Parliamentary Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which was sponsored by Minority Leader John Mbadi had glaring irregularities. Constitutionally, proposals about compensation have to be generated or get inputs from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).

Violation of constitution

That did not happen. And that means the amendment was in itself a violation of constitutional guarantees.

Second, there is a formula for calculating pension; it is based on employees’ contribution. This one, where former MPs who served between 1984 and 2001 were to receive Sh100,000 monthly, was arrived at arbitrarily. Precisely, they were going to be handed free money, which is not acceptable.

Looked at broadly, the proposed amendment was an exemplification of the perennial greed by MPs. They are driven by selfish interests and always plot ways and means to benefit from public resources even there is no arguable justification.

MPs have to be realistic and sensible. Such outrageous proposals undermine public’s confidence in them. It is their duty to protect public resources through playing watchdog role and therefore should be last ones to raid the national coffers.

Mr Mbadi and his ilk must keep off such manoeuvres.