MCAs reject new salary deal, vow to push on with strike

Salaries and Remuneration Commission chair Sarah Serem. (Photo:File/Standard)

By Antony Gitonga

Naivasha, Kenya: Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) have rejected a new pay deal their leaders sealed with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).

The leaders dismissed the deal, accusing SRC chairperson Sarah Serem of being insincere and their leaders who negotiated the perks of misrepresenting their interests. The rejection means the stalemate that has seen county assemblies adjourn will continue for an unspecified time.

Speaking at a Naivasha hotel Sunday, the MCAs said they wanted a salary rise, not an increase in allowances as proposed by Serem.

Mustafa Abdirashid from Garissa County said only the County Assembly Forum was mandated to negotiate their case.

He called those who negotiated the deal with Serem imposters, adding that counties countrywide would remain adjourned.

“Serem is playing games with us and we shall not resume our sittings until all our grievances are addressed,” he said. The sentiments were echoed by Joyce Maitai from Laikipia County who denied that they were earning Sh185,000 as alleged by Serem.

She accused SRC of playing politics with their pay. “Those who negotiated with SRC do not represent MCAs and we doubt the capacity of Serem to lead this commission,” she said. In Vihiga County, MCAs said they were unsatisfied with the deal.

“We are yet to see the reviewed salaries. They told us to wait another week, and so we are waiting to see what they will come up with, but what I have heard is not good,” Speaker of the Assembly Daniel Chitwa said.

Serious Bills

He said there was no need for job re-evaluation for MCAs because their duties were enshrined in the Constitution. SRC has said it needs to re-evaluate the jobs of county ward representatives before it can review their salaries. 

Meanwhile, Governor Moses Akaranga has asked MCAs to accept what they have been given.

“We have serious Bills that need MCAs to debate and pass in county assemblies before we can establish development projects. If they do not resume work, it will be difficult for us to operate,” Akaranga said.

–– Additional reporting by Eric Lungai