The Deputy President’s fat retirement perks are among those targeted for reduction by MPs according to a parliamentary report to be considered by the House.
It recommends amendments to the Retirement Benefits (Deputy President and Designated State Officers) Act 2015, which was enacted during Deputy President William Ruto’s first term.
In its report, the National Assembly’s Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC) terms the benefits outlined in the law “excessive” and wants them harmonised with those granted other officers in the public service.
If the changes were to be effected, Dr Ruto, who will finish his two terms as DP next year, will be hardest hit as he would pocket a reduced lump sum pay-out.
The lump sum payment on retirement is calculated as a sum equal to one year's salary paid for each termed served in office.
In 2017, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) reduced President Kenyatta’s monthly salary to Sh1.4 million from Sh1.65 million while the deputy President’s was slashed to Sh1.2 million from Sh1.4 million.
Former Chief Justice David Maraga, who retired this year, will also be hit as he would get reduced perks so soon after retirement should the cuts be implemented.
Those already drawing the perks including former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, ex-Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, which means the cuts will only affect other benefits like monthly pension.
Apart from the deputy President, others to be affected are Mr Odinga, Mr Musyoka, Dr Mutunga, Speakers of the two Houses and the deputy Chief Justice.
National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende is also among the beneficiaries. The report is among the business to be considered when the House resumes its sittings on Tuesday.
The retirement perks for the top politicians have in the past generated controversy.
In 2015, opposition leaders Odinga and Musyoka were frustrated by President Kenyatta’s Jubilee administration that initially blocked their retirement benefits. President Kenyatta, in his memorandum to the National Assembly vetoing the Bill, wanted the two to relinquish their positions as party leaders to qualify for their pension.
They resisted the attempt to force them to retire from politics and, since MPs were unable to overturn the President’s conditions, it became law.
Due to the stalemate, the two had to forego the perks for three years until 2018 when President Kenyatta’s “Handshake” truce with Mr Odinga loosened the purse strings. The report by the committee chaired by Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni is set to stir fresh controversy.
The Retirement Benefits Act, 2015, states that a retired Deputy President or retired Vice President shall, during his or her lifetime, be entitled to a monthly pension equal to 80 per cent of the monthly salary of the entitled person's last monthly salary while in office.
The person is also entitled to a lump sum payment on retirement, calculated as a sum equal to one year's salary paid for each termed served in office, two saloon vehicles of an engine capacity not exceeding 2000 cc which shall be replaceable once every four years; The person will also enjoy one four-wheel drive vehicle of an engine capacity not exceeding 3000 cc which shall be replaceable once every four years, a fuel allowance equal to 15 per cent of current monthly salary of the office holder and a full medical and hospital cover, providing for local and overseas treatment, with a reputable insurance company for the entitled person and the entitled person's spouse.
The Act stipulates that the same benefits will also be enjoyed by the Speakers of both Houses, former prime ministers and vice Presidents.
A former VP who didn’t serve a full term like Mr Musalia Mudavadi is only entitled to gratuity paid at the end of the entitled person’s service at the rate of 31 per cent of the entitled person’s salary while in office.
In addition, they are entitled to one armed security, a diplomatic passport including for the spouse and access to VIP lounges in all the airports in the country.
But as the committee is seeking to slash the benefits for the DP and the other state officers, it wants the perks for former independent office holders such as the Auditor General and Controller of Budget enhanced to the level of other state officers.
The MPs argued that both the Auditor General and Controller of Budget play a crucial role in handling government finances and therefore need a befitting send-off upon retirement.
According to the SRC gazette notice of July 7, 2017, both the Auditor General and Controller of Budget are only entitled to a service gratuity at the rate of 31 per cent of the basic remuneration for the term served.
The committee pointed out that if the office of the Auditor-General is not protected from outside influence including the office holder's financial security and security of his person during and after his tenure, then it would compromise the integrity of the office during the tenure of the office holder.
Also set to benefit from the new proposal is the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)