By NGUMBAO KITHI
The more than 3,500 councillors countrywide now want a gratuity of Sh1 million each after serving the local authorities for the last five years.
If implemented, this will cost taxpayers about Sh3.5 billion.
The chairman of the National Local Government Employees Association, Mr Samuel Nyangeso, said mayors and chairmen have written to Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi (who is also the Minister for Local Government) and the Minister for Finance Njeru Githae asking for the payment of at least Sh1 million to each councillor after expiry of their five-year term.
The proposal was made during a meeting of mayors and council chairmen at the Sai Rock Hotel in Mombasa. Nyangeso expressed disgust at the proposal by MPs to be paid Sh4 million after expiry of their five-year term.
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"The MPs are well aware they cannot perform their duties in the absence of councillors, when they are negotiating, they must understand those who work for them at the grassroots," he said.
Ngangeso said the deal has been worked out to ensure the local councillors who have been instrumental in the service to the local community have the right to benefit from the Sh1 million.
He said the local people realise the service offered by the councillors and called on the taxpayers to allow the gratuity. The Kenya Local Government Workers Union deputy secretary, Mr Julius ole Apale, said the proposal was the best for the councillors.
"The golden handshake we discussed is because of the amount of work councillors have in serving the local people; this money is important for them," he said.
He said the councillors were the most suited people to benefit from the handshake unlike the MPs who earn so much.
Apale also rejected the proposal to pay MPs Sh4 million as handshake. "I call upon President Kibaki to reject the proposal as the MPs are not honest," he said. What remains to be seen is whether the councillors will have their way.