Uhuru vows to reject MPs' pay hike bill, tells Kenyans to send its proponents home

President Uhuru Kenyatta interacts with school children when he toured Kiambu County to preside over various programs. [Photo: PSCU]

President Uhuru Kenyatta has vowed to scuttle plans by Members of Parliament to enhance their perks.

The President on Wednesday poured cold water on the spirited bid by MPs who have maintained that, despite public protestations, they will go ahead and pass the Parliamentary Service Commission Bill, 2018.

MPs are expected to push the Bill through its third and final reading today before they break for Christmas recess until February next year.

The Bill, which has come under attack from the President, opposition leader Raila Odinga, Church leaders and the media, seeks to grant legislators in the National Assembly and the Senate enhanced house allowances, car loans and insurance cover.

The lawmakers are also seeking a special kitty in each of the 290 constituencies "to monitor and evaluate national government projects".

But President Kenyatta, who was speaking in Ndumberi Stadium, Kiambu, said he had listened to the public and it was clear people were unhappy with the MPs' decision.

“I know some people will be angry with me but what they are trying to pass in Parliament is not what the people want. It is clear that people are tired at the habit of having their leaders always increasing their salaries.

"Even if you hate me, that is your own problem. I will stick there and when you pass it, I will not assent to it,” said Uhuru.

The President called on lawmakers to be mindful of the citizens' plight, warning them that four years was not a long time and they would soon face the electorate in the next elections.

Uhuru called on Kenyans to remember the names of legislators who passed the Bill, saying they deserved to be sent home after their parliamentary terms.

“Any MP who will support that Bill to increase his or her salary should know that four years is not far away. Whoever will do that should be prepared to be sent home by the voters. There is no other way out."

The President advised MPs to stop salivating for public money because the funds were meant to initiate projects like building roads and connecting water and electricity.

As Uhuru spoke, his audience cheered wildly as they chanted anti-MPs slogans.

The President made the remarks at Ndumberi Stadium in Kiambu in town constituency when he launched a programe dubbed Rais  Mashinani  a mobile service delivery unit similar to Huduma centre where residents will be able to access government service among them issuance of birth and death certificates, NHI cards, pensions among others.

The bill is now set for the third reading, clause by clause, when amendments will be introduced.

Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) has also opposed the bill and expressed fears that enacting the bill will see other State and public officers also demand more benefits.

The enactment of this bill will result in MPs awarding themselves a house allowance and car allowance among others, which SRC says will also be demanded by other State and public officers.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga last week also opposed bid by the MPs to increase their salaries and allowances.

In a statement sent to newsroom on Sunday evening by his spokesman Dennis Onyango, Raila appealed to Members of Parliament to appreciate that the country is struggling with huge debts that cut through the broad spectrum of the economy and deficits strangling specific critical sectors.

 “The Parliamentary Service Commission Bill is a case of Grand Larceny and an anti-people and insensitive demand that should be disowned and rejected as inappropriate and unacceptable to a great majority of Kenyans if not all, at this time,” he said.

 The African Union (AU) Infrastructure Envoy also said that the pay hike conspiracy by MPs is coming at a time other public sector employees such as teachers, nurses and civil servants are going through pay restraint and are generally accepting less pay for much work.

“I am appealing to members of parliament to appreciate that the country is struggling with huge debts that cut through the broad spectrum of our economy and deficits strangling specific critical sectors,” he said.