Uhuru should not sanction MPs' fresh bid to rip off the taxpayer

Parliament during a past session in June 2019. [File, Standard]
MPs just never get tired of ripping off their constituents. They are on the rampage again. They want you, the taxpayer, to dig deep into your pocket, again, and pay them what they term as night allowance.

For the uninitiated, night allowance is the amount they will be paid for spending a night in Nairobi to attend parliamentary sessions. And sleep for the honourable members does not come cheap. It will cost taxpayers between Sh18,200 and Sh24,000 to give their MPs a good night’s sleep, if President Kenyatta allows the ‘Domestic Subsistence Facilitation’.

This means the taxpayer will be paying every MP or senator up to Sh384,000 monthly. As we have a total of 416 MPs and senators, it means their sleep will be gobbling up more than Sh150 million every month. That’s a veritable nightmare for the taxpayer.

Shockingly, the new ploy by the MPs comes hot on the heels of another in which they are claiming Sh250,000 each in house allowance.

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission is challenging this allowance in court, arguing MPs do not have powers to decide their remuneration as they are state officers. Besides their monthly salary of Sh710,000 the lawmakers are entitled to other enviable perks, including a sitting allowance of between Sh5,000 and Sh8,000, car loan of up to Sh7 million, mileage of Sh109 per kilometre for up to 750km per week, Sh356,525 car allowance and Sh20 million mortgage at three per cent interest. 

In 2013, the UK-based Independent Parliamentary Standard Authority ranked Kenyan legislators second best remunerated in the world, taking home more than those in the United States, Japan and Britain. Nigeria snatched the number one slot.

It is shameful for MPs to keep on scheming how to beef up their perks in a country where majority of those they serve live in abject poverty.

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Needless to say, the MPs’ demand for night allowance could not have come at a worse time. The price of food is on the rise following the severe drought that hit the country earlier this year and most families cannot afford a decent meal. Joblessness is at an all time high and even university graduates cannot find work. In addition, the  Government is struggling to pay its sagging debt.

As things stand, only the President can save the taxpayer from this unnecessary expense. He should stand with Kenyans and send the amended Parliamentary Service Bill back to the sender.

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MPs allowancesUhuru KenyattaKenyan politicians