Governors who have served for two terms will receive as much as Sh11.1 million as lump sum payment and a lifetime monthly pension of Sh739,200 if lawmakers pass a Bill currently being pushed by members of county assemblies.
The draft County State Officers Pension Scheme Act, 2021 by the County Assemblies Forum (CAF) – an umbrella body that brings together Speakers and MCAs from the 47 counties – seeks to reward governors, their deputies, speakers and MCAs with hefty packages after leaving office.
The proposals call for the establishment of the County State Officers Retirement Benefits Scheme, which will be responsible for developing, determining and awarding the benefits.
Under the recommendations, a retired governor who has served two terms will receive a lump sum payment calculated as a total of their one year basic salary. The governors will also receive a lifetime basic monthly payment equivalent to 80 per cent of their last monthly salary. And should a governor die after leaving office, the benefits will be paid to their beneficiaries for life.
A retired deputy governor will be paid a lump sum amount equal to a year’s basic salary for each term served and a lifetime monthly pension equal to 60 per cent of the basic salary, terms similar to those that will be paid to retired county assembly speakers.
Based on current rates deputy governors, who currently earn a monthly salary of Sh621,250, will each receive a lump sum award of at least Sh7.4 million and a lifetime monthly payment of Sh373, 750. The speakers will receive about Sh3.1 million lump sum pay and Sh155,925 lifetime monthly payments. County assembly speakers currently earn a monthly pay of about Sh259,857.
A retired MCA, on the other hand, will receive a lump sum equal to one year’s basic salary and a full medical cover for the MCA and their spouse for their lifetime. MCAs currently earn a monthly salary of Sh144,375 excluding allowances, meaning that with the Bill, they will be entitled to a lump sum pay of Sh.1.7 million.
“The object of the Scheme is to provide benefits for its members upon their retirement, or for their dependants or nominees upon the death of such members. A person who is a governor, deputy governor, county assembly speaker or member of a county assembly on or at any time after the commencement of this Act shall be a member of the Scheme,” reads the proposed law.
“Upon the death of an entitled person..., the surviving spouse of the entitled person shall be entitled to 50 per cent of the pension which was payable to an entitled person,” the Bill adds.
The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) currently recommends a lump sum payment of at least Sh10.3 million for governors, Sh6.9 million for their deputies, Sh2.9 million for speakers and Sh1.6 million for MCAs upon vacating office.
The Bill also proposes an award of a 3,000cc four-wheel drive car, fuel allowance a personal assistant/secretary, a house keeper, a medical cover for local and overseas treatment and maintenance expenses for the vehicles for governors.
Their deputies will be entitled to additional benefits of at least one car with an engine capacity not exceeding 3,000cc, a driver, a personal assistant and full medical cover for the speaker and their spouse. This package will also be extended to the speakers, their spouses and children.
CAF chairman Ndegwa Wahome, in a letter to MCAs, said the decision to develop the Bill was informed by the gaps that currently exist in the award of retirement benefits for state officers at the county level.
“The purpose of this letter therefore, is to forward to you the County State Officer Retirements Benefit Bill for your consideration and subsequent passage on or before 25th October 2021,” he added.
But the proposals, whose fate now lies with the 47 county assemblies and Parliament, have already elicited sharp reactions from the public.
“The problem we have in our society is that we have leaders who earn money but whose delivery and performance is poor. And so when you award them resources like we see, one has no option but to think that what attracts most to leadership is the heavy perks,” said Centre for Multi-Party Democracy chief executive Franklin Mukwanja.
“I tend to believe that a good chunk of our leaders are out of touch with the reality and have no sense of what exactly took them to office. When you have electorates whose lives continue to worsen due to the harsh economic times, yet leaders continue to demand for more money, then you know we are in deep trouble,” said Ms Valentine Wannjiru, a trader in Nairobi.
One-term governors, their deputies and speakers will be paid a lump sum equal to one year’s basic salary and a monthly pension equal to 50 per cent of their basic salary.