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MPs to amend Constitution in push for pay rise

By By James Omoro | May 6th 2013 | 2 min read

By James Omoro

Members of the National Assembly may amend the constitution as the last option to secure the higher pay that the Salaries and Remuneration Commission and the public have opposed.

Mbita MP Millie Odhiambo said MPs are set to amend sections of the Constitution that describes them as State Officers, so that they can free themselves from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission’s mandate.

Speaking during relief food distribution to flood victims at Ogando Primary School in Mbita Constituency, Ms Odhiambo said: "Serem should revisit the decision because it seems her commission is not aware of the financial burden MPs have in discharging their duties."

She claimed the Sh532000 salary stipulated by the commission was even less their expenditure in a single weekend whenever they visit the constituencies.

She said MPs are bearers of almost all problems which face their constituents hence they need better remuneration.

“When a constituent’s wife is detained by parents due to lack of dowry, floods are affecting them or any sort of problem, first person to be called is the area MP. The scenario is common all over Kenya since we usually compare notes and our expenditures per weekend range between 250,000 to 300,000,”she added.

Odhiambo reiterated that she was not advocating for any salary increment but her aim was to ensure the salary they used to earn in the tenth parliament is maintained to salvage them from inflation currently hitting Kenyans.

The legislator opposed plans by some of her colleagues to dissolve the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).

 “Disbanding the Commission is like killing a mosquito with a harmer that may end up destroying other things which are not part of the problem,” Ms Odhiambo added.

She said there was likelihood of MPs amending a section of the Constitution which defines them as ‘State officers’ to stop being subjected to the (SRC)’s salary regulations.

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission was constituted to regulate salaries of State officers.

If the MPs opt for the amendment, the responsibility of regulating MPs salaries will be bestowed in the Parliamentary Service Commission.

“There is a possibility of amending the constitutional clause to scrap the word ‘state officers’ so that we transfer the responsibility to the Parliamentary Service Commission. The PSC is composed of MPs who understand the challenges their colleagues undergo,” Ms Odhiambo added.

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