MPs wary of ‘plot to slash allowances’

A sitting of the National Assembly.

A sitting of the National Assembly. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Members of the National Assembly have called for an informal sitting with the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) amid claims that the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) is plotting to slash allowances for the next Parliament.

The sitting, popularly known as kamukunji, will be held at 2.30pm on May 10 at the main chambers to discuss reports that the PSC has met with the SRC to increase the allowances of parliamentary commissioners but slash those of lawmakers. The matter was raised on Thursday by Ugenya MP David Ochieng just before the House took a recess. He said he was aware of meetings between the two agencies where the matter was discussed at length.

“There is a scheme to reduce our sitting allowance and the allowances when we travel abroad,” Mr Ochieng said.

He called on Speaker Justin Muturi, who is also the PSC chairperson, to come clean on the matter during the planned kamukunji.

The lawmakers warned that those of them who will be re-elected in August would not want to meet any remuneration shocker. Kikuyu’s Kimani Ichung’wah said some of the commissioners, who were elected by the House, are after their personal interests and not those of the legislators. He said a bombshell awaits MPs who will make it to the 13th Parliament.

Suffering in silence

“Some commissioners in the PSC have become so dynastic and no longer serve members. To those of us who may make it back in the 13 Parliament, you will be shocked,” he said.

Mr Ichung’wah said new offices for MPs have yet to be completed and the commission has yet to give updates to members. He noted that during his tenure as Budget and Appropriation Committee chairman, money was allocated to the project.

“My office has been operating without windows. Other MPs have also been suffering in silence, yet the commission is not giving us any update on the new offices,” Mr Ochieng said.

Minority Whip Junet Mohamed said they started having issues with the PSC a long time ago and even wanted to replace some commissioners. However, he said, their efforts were frustrated. “We raised concerns about a notorious member of that commission who has since left us and joined another party. These issues could have been sorted out a long time ago,” Mr Mohamed said.

Welfare

“Some of the issues raised here are deeper than we thought.”

At the meeting, the lawmakers want the PSC, under Mr Muturi’s leadership, to give its scorecard for the last four years on how it has promoted their welfare.

Lawmakers enjoy about Sh50,000 as out-of-pocket cash whenever they travel abroad on official parliamentary duties depending on the destination; Sh10,000 for a chair of a House committee per sitting, Sh8,000 for vice chairpersons and Sh5,000 for ordinary members.

In addition, they are entitled to Sh5,000 for every plenary. MPs sit three times a week: on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

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