Village elders to join the civil service in proposed reforms

Kibwezi West MP Mwengi Mutuse during a Public Accounts Committee hearing at Parliament Buildings in Nairobi in July last year. 

Photo credit: File| Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Mr Mutuse has proposed that each village elder earn a monthly stipend of between Sh7,000 and Sh12,445.
  • According to a public participation notice published by Interior Principal Secretary Raymond Omollo, Kenyans have until June 6 to submit their views and written memoranda on the proposed legislation and the National Government Village Administration Policy.

More than 45,000 village elders could soon be absorbed into the civil service if new plans mooted by the national government see the light of day.

The State has invited Kenyans to give their views on its proposals for far-reaching reforms, which seek to provide a framework for their recognition and facilitation.

This follows the unanimous approval by the National Assembly of a Bill sponsored by Kibwezi West MP Mwengi Mutuse last month to recognise village administrative units and remunerate the village elders.

The Mutuse Bill sought to amend Section 14 of the National Government Coordination Act to expand the national government administration structure to include villages and appoint village heads.

The MP, who is the vice-chairman of the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee, said village elders provide crucial services to the public for free, contrary to provisions of Article 41 of the Constitution on fair labour practices.

Mr Mutuse has proposed that each village elder earn a monthly stipend of between Sh7,000 and Sh12,445.

According to a public participation notice published by Interior Principal Secretary Raymond Omollo, Kenyans have until June 6 to submit their views and written memoranda on the proposed legislation and the National Government Village Administration Policy.

Among the issues to be determined are the academic qualifications, recruitment and retirement age, and duties and remuneration of the village elders.

Mr Mutuse said he was motivated to sponsor the Bill by the suffering of the village elders as they discharge their duties without pay.

“Village elders resolve disputes within communities, promote peaceful co-existence, address security issues and enforce government policies such as ensuring all children attend schools and go for mass vaccinations,” said Mr Mutuse.

In an interview with the Nation, the MP said he had held discussions with the Ministry of Interior as well as the Parliamentary Budget Office on the possible costing scenarios and settled on an allowance model of Sh7,000 per month.

“After numerous consultations, it was felt that such a monumental reform proposal required government backing especially because of the huge budgetary implications, and I’m pleased that the government is carrying forward this initiative," he said.

The MP said he benchmarked with several countries that have adopted and enlisted village heads including Rwanda, Tanzania, Botswana, Ghana and Indonesia.

"I urge Kenyans to support our village heads who are very instrumental in safeguarding our nation's socio- economic fabric," the MP said.

If each of the 9,045 sub-locations gets five village elders, it will cost the taxpayer Sh3.9 billion annually.

If the elders are paid Sh12,445 per month, which is the average basic salary for general labour, it will cost about Sh7.09 billion every year. This excludes the recruitment expenses in the first year.