Eugene Wamalwa: Why I rejected Nadco sitting allowance

DAP-K Party Leader Eugene Wamalwa

DAP-K Party Leader Eugene Wamalwa during the interview at his home in Nairobi on Friday, January 12, 2024. 

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

Democratic Action Party of Kenya (DAP-K) party leader Eugene Wamalwa has rejected the National Dialogue Committee (Nadco) sitting allowance estimated to be more than a million shilling.

Mr Wamalwa– who had declined to sign the final document on the basis that it did not address the high cost of living – on Friday formally wrote to the two Clerks of the bicameral House rejecting his payment.

On Friday, Mr Wamalwa also skipped the two events at State House and Capitol Hill where the 10-member Bomas dialogue team formally presented the negotiation report to President William Ruto and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

The bipartisan five-aside talks team, eight-member technical team and 20 members in the secretariat on Thursday received communication from the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), asking them to provide bank details for payment of allowances.

“Yesterday (Thursday, March 7), I received an invitation from your officers to deliver my bank details to facilitate payment of my sitting allowances as a member of NADCO. As you are aware, I had already publicly declined to sign the said report after a serious disagreement arose over the failure to address the fundamental issue of reduction of the cost of living,” said Mr Wamalwa in the letter obtained by Sunday Nation.

“I also declined to accept any payments from the said process. This is therefore, to formally notify you that having already made my above position public, I neither have the intention nor the inclination to change my position and/or receive the said monies, which I request to be returned to the exchequer,” he said in the letter dated March 8.

Senate clerk Jeremiah Nyegenye declined to disclose how much each of the members is entitled to as a sitting allowance.

But in September, ‘Nation’ exclusively reported how the talks team had sought for Sh106 million to facilitate the Bomas talks.

A big chunk of the figure was to go into allowances, conference facilities and refreshments, according to the budget document that was prepared by the secretariat and adopted by the National Dialogue Committee co-chaired by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah.

According to the document, Mr Musyoka and Mr Ichung’wah were entitled to Sh50,000 per sitting while the other eight members were each entitled to Sh40,000 per sitting.

They were to attend a total of 20 sittings according to the document.

The team, however, could have attended more sittings following the extension, meaning they could be expecting more than what was budgeted for.

Further, the technical committee was seeking Sh25,000 for every sitting.

The team was to attend a total of 41 meetings, translating to Sh1,025,000 while the 20 members of the secretariat, who were mostly drawn from Parliament were each entitled to Sh15,000 per sitting.

 The secretariat team was also to attend a total of 41 sittings.

In an earlier interview with Nation, Mr Wamalwa said he rejected the report because the talk team failed to do justice for the high cost of living, which was the basis for the anti-government protest led by Mr Odinga.

“I felt like we did not do justice to a matter of great importance; the cost of living. I must say the single most important matter to every Kenyan today is cost of living. We tried to get the Kenya Kwanza regime to listen to the cry of Kenyans to lower taxes on fuel, on essential goods but they refused,” said Mr Wamalwa.

He went on, “The only areas that they were willing to agree to were areas that were of political convenience to them. They were issues that were contained in the memorandum the President submitted to Parliament. They were willing to go through their issues but when it came to our strong issue on the cost of living they refused.”