MPs win round one in war with SRC over perks

Members of Parliament during a session. They have opposed the Salaries and Remuneration Commission move to cut their pay. [File, Standard]

Members of the 12th Parliament made good their threat to defeat the Salaries and Remuneration Commission’s (SRC) move to cut their pay and allowances.

Taxpayers will now have to contend with the MPs’ fat perks after High Court Judge George Odunga temporarily barred SRC from implementing the slashed pay.

SRC in a gazette notice dated July 7, had proposed new salary cuts for state officers in a move aimed at saving the taxpayer Sh9 billion annually.

Some MPs will now take home more than Sh5 million in salaries and allowances since the pay will back dated.

Despite the high pay, the MPs continue sticking their necks out for every opportunity to make money. Candidates for various committees are the new target as they are forced to part with hefty cash to win support since the positions come with privileges.

And with the new trend, efforts by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto to whip members’ to vote for specific individuals to chair the various committees and their deputies will be a toll order.

NASA leaders have not been spared as the fight for membership to committees intensifies.

And with no caveat on the number of sittings, MPs allowances could go up as there will be numerous sittings going by the high demand for certain committees.

About Sh50,000 is paid to members as out of pocket cash whenever they travel abroad on official parliamentary duties, Sh15,000 for a chair of a House committee per sitting and Sh10,000 for a member per sitting. The lawmakers are also entitled to Sh5,000 for every plenary sitting, mileage allowance based on the distance clocked capped at 750km, Sh5 million car grant, Sh20 million mortgage, Sh10 million medical insurance and out of station or sitting allowance during retreats to write report, fact-finding mission or conferences.

Members serving in the powerful Parliament Service Commission (PSC) chaired by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi and Chief Executive Officer and secretary being Senate clerk Jeremiah Nyegenye also enjoy added advantages.

Since PSC deals with members’ welfare, its commissioners are entitled to GK vehicles maintained by the institution and offices and staff and also handles the Sh9 billion construction of new Parliament office block and underground tunnel.


“We must restore our dignity as legislators. Sarah Serem team reduced us to beggars. What can Sh675,000 monthly salary do when you service car loan, mortgage and also attend to your constituent?” Posed an MP from Central.

He added, “We are the legislators, nothing can defeat us. We have lobbied the President to revise his decision to support the team but it’s taking too long despite his assurance. His word is not good enough.”

Some MPs who spoke Saturday Standard vowed to lock out SRC from interfering with Parliament.

The commission’s  Gazette notice abolished the Sh5 million car grant, reduced the number of sitting allowances for plenary sessions as well as sitting allowances for committee meetings to 16 per month and also abolished reimbursable mileage allowance.

Leaders of Majority and Minority in both Houses take home more than Sh1.4 million in salaries’ plus allowance, complete with fully furnished offices, security and GK vehicles.

Majority and Minority whips also earn more than Sh1 million.

On Thursday, in rare show of unity, Jubilee and NASA MPs opposed their party leaders’ nominees to the Commission.

The Speaker suspended debate on the motion to approve the seven nominees and asked the opposition to consult and make a decision on the grievances raised by Wiper.

The hostile MPs gave Muturi, Majority Leader Aden Duale (Garissa Township) and Minority Whip Junet Mohammed (Suna East) a hard time, as they appeared to be rattled by specific names.

After reading the mood of the House, the Speaker ruled that MPs would approve the nominees individually.

“In the circumstances and in fairness, I’ll suspend debate on this motion, allow NASA to sit as a coalition and give me names of nominees to the PSC,” Muturi said.

Duale’s bid to move the motion was interrupted by points of orders from Muturi Kigano (Kangema), Elijah Memusi (Narok Central) and Ben Momanyi  who questioned the decision to deny Wiper Party a slot and why they should pick former commissioners.

Former commissioners Adan Keynan (Eldas), the president’s kin Senator Beth Mugo and Gladys Wanga (Homabay County MP) were vehemetly opposed.

Others nominees facing a revolt are Senators Aaron Cheruyoit (Kericho), George Khaniri (Vihiga), Aisha Jumwa (Malindi) and Naomi Shaban (Taveta).

But even with Jubilee’s ‘tyranny of numbers’, Duale failed to command his teams who kept shouting him down.

He threatened to ask the President to form a tribunal to removal from office those who fail to perform.

“MPs need cars. If ambassadors have three vehicles and PSs and CSs also, our welfare is paramount and the men and women chosen must deliver on their mandate,” said Duale.

Mohammed insisted that PSC is basically the MPs’ employer.

“It is a very important organ. Women and men elected must work for this Parliament. We should focus on integrity as it is not a career commission,” he said.

He added, “I have come to discover from our side that Jubilee has a problem with the nominees too. We must come together as Parliament. I propose we withdraw the list and come back and discuss later.”

The legislators are now a happy lot after defeating SRC.

Through Lawyer George Miyare, MPs accused the Serem-led team of infringing on the constitutional mandate of commission and thus crippling its functions. Miyare argued that the car grant was a facilitative allowance previously given to State officers serving in Parliament. “The Status quo will remain for now the MPs will continue to get their salaries and benefits as was the case in the last parliament,” he Miyare.