Ex- councillors to receive Sh18b pay-off package as senators approve motion

Senators have approved a Motion that could see former councillor who served from 1963 receive a Sh1.5 million one-off payment and Sh30,000 monthly pension.

There are at least 12,000 former councilors.

This, therefore, means that taxpayers will have to foot a bill of Sh18 billion as golden handshake for the leaders who were in power before devolution.  

The pension of the former councillors will total to Sh360 million per month.

Send-off package

Laikipia Senator John Kinyua revived the debate on the send-off package for the councillors last week after moving a Motion regarding the need for the House to address the problems facing the group.

This elicited a heated debate on the floor of the House, with legislators from both sides rising in support.

Mr Kinyua on Thursday said it was unfair for the national Treasury to disregard recommendations of the Senate Standing Committee on Labour and Social Welfare, which had in 2016 directed that the leaders be paid.

This was after National Forum of Former Councillors petitioned the Senate regarding the need for legislative interventions to address their plight and welfare.

Not enforced

Despite the House having adopted the report on February 16, 2016, its recommendations have not been enforced.

“The national Treasury, the State Department for Devolution and Social Services should take the necessary steps to implement the recommendations of the report. Many former councillors live in abject poverty, yet they worked for this country tirelessly,” said Kinyua.

Senators Samson Cherargei (Nandi) and Cleophas Malala (Kakamega) said it was important for the State to take care of the welfare of retired politicians since they still play an active role in the grassroots.

“When you go to the villages and wards, the opinion leaders and those who enlighten the public are normally the former councillors. Why is it hard to pay them Sh1.5 million? These people did a lot and sacrificed for this nation. They should not be struggling in the village,” said Mr Cherargei.

Laid foundation

Malala said: “The former councillors laid a foundation on which we are building devolution. They performed their duties diligently and we saw development in the deepest parts of our villages. It is embarrassing that the group has been neglected.”

Amos Wako (Busia) said the proposed one-off payment for the councillors was modest, compared to money the country losses each year through corruption.

“Apart from MCAs, we should also address the plight of former teachers. Let us look after old people. A nation that does not respect the old in the society is a nation that is not civilised. We must respect the old, particularly those above 70 years,” Mr Wako said.

Extra burden

House Deputy Whip Irungu Kang’ata, who has served as a civic leader in the past, argued that the payment would not be an extra burden on the taxpayer, since it is an honorarium; one-off pay.

“This is in tandem with general labour practices, which have been happening the world over. It will not be an exception to Kenya.

“When you employ a person for a certain contractual period, you are supposed to give a certain honorarium.  This didn’t happen for the former councillors, which is unfair,” said Mr Kang’ata.

The senator said councillors did a very good job.

“Were it not for them, there would be no resources or assets that would have been devolved,” he added.