Retired governors fight for monthly millions

SRC Chairperson Lyn Mengich. [David Njaaga, Standard]

Governors who have been promised plum positions after the forthcoming elections will make millions of shillings per month should their push for a lifetime pension succeed.

Their demands, which could cost taxpayers more than Sh2.3b a year to maintain their specified lifestyle, has however been opposed by Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), which argues that it is unrealistic, unsustainable and a burden to taxpayers.

“Their proposals for pension and other non-pension benefits for governors and deputy governors are not fiscally affordable and sustainable due to the budgetary implication. For instance, it will cost public coffers in excess of Sh2.3b in the first year alone,” said SRC.

The demands by the governors and their deputies for hefty payoff perks are contained in a petition filed through the Council of Governors (CoG) in which they are demanding similar send-off packages like retired presidents, deputy presidents, chief justices and speakers of Parliament.

The CoG suit, which is set for hearing at the High Court today, means the outgoing governors who have been promised various positions in their political formations and those seeking fresh elective seats will be having double salaries every month for the rest of their lives. Kakamega Governor Wycliff Oparanya, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and Kitui’s Charity Ngilu are some of the governors who have been promised Cabinet Secretary positions by Azimio la Umoja presidential candidate Raila Odinga, should the win.

For Kenya Kwanza, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua leads the pack of those set to earn double salaries from taxpayers. Others are Turkana’s Josephat Nanok, Kwale’s Salim Mvurya and Amason Kingi of Kilifi. Other outgoing governors seeking elective positions, including Uasin Gishu’s Jackson Mandago, Makueni’s Kivutha Kibwana, Elgeyo Marakwet’s Alex Tolgos, Narok’s Samuel Tunai, Samburu’s Moses Lenolkulal and Busia’s Sospeter Ojaamong' will also have double pay should they win.

The CoG argues in the suit that they are justified to receive the hefty pensions, just like any other civil servant, and that by virtue of their offices as heads of counties; their perks should be equated to those of retiring president. They want a monthly pension of Sh739,200 for governors and Sh700,000 for deputy governors, in addition to a lump sum payment equivalent to one-year pay, a 3,000cc four-wheel-drive vehicle, fuel allowance, each a driver, a personal assistant and medical cover for local and overseas treatment.

But the SRC, through a replying affidavit sworn by the Commission Secretary Anne Gitau, argues that paying the retiring governors, some who will have employment in the Government, would have a ripple effect on all other state officers in national and county governments.

“Besides fiscal unsustainability, providing the benefits to governors and their deputies would distort the retirement benefits structures for State officers and occasion disparity in retirement benefits for State officers,” swore Ms Gitau.

She said if the same demands were to be applied to other State officers like AG, CSs, PSs, judges, constitutional office holders and MPs, it would mean taxpayers foot a Sh17b bill annually.