MPs 'have a right to demand more allowances'

Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary General Francis Atwoli (pictured) has defended a move by MPs to increase their allowances amidst Kenya’s economic turbulence.

Mr Atwoli said it was justifiable for the legislators to demand fresh hefty perks at the expense of taxpayers because of the deep rooted culture of Kenyans pushing their leaders for handouts.

MPs — all 416 Members of Senate and National assembly — will each pocket a new monthly Sh250,000 house allowance backdated to August as wananchi wait to play lottery to have a house in the state’s Big Four agenda.

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“I support their (MPs’) move to increase their allowances because Kenyans are overburdening them with demands for handouts,” Atwoli said.

He warned Kenyans to desist from demanding handouts from their MPs because the culture “has become unbearable”.

“It’s shameful that when constituents elect an MP, they expect them to handle everything for them, including funeral, maternity and related expenses. If you expect handouts from your leaders, then you should pay them well,” he said, adding: “Kenyans might think I’m crazy.”

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He said unless Kenyans changed their culture of “converting” MPs into private banks, then the leaders’ actions to demand more allowances would be in order.

At the same time, the Cotu Secretary General said he planned to meet President Uhuru Kenyatta to push for workers’ pay increase by 15 per cent without specifying on the timelines.

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