Belt-tightening, what belt-tightening? Speaker Wetang'ula courts SRC to restore lawmakers' perks

Speaker Moses Wetangula during swearing-in of the 13th parliament Members of Parliament on September 8, 2022 [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang'ula has promised lawmakers that he will push for the reinstatement of allowances that were scrapped by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).

Speaking during the induction of the legislators at the Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, yesterday Mr Wetang'ula said he was in talks with SRC over the matter.

The Speaker promised that before the end of the week, he will inform the MPs of the progress made on the matter.

He said that it was unfair for the commission to scrap some MPs allowances.

"Before we are done with the induction this week, I'll let you know your privileges. Nobody in their right frame should interfere with your allowances that is your entitlement. SRC should not frustrate us but facilitate us," he said while addressing the week-long induction of MPs with the theme "Setting the stage for a smooth take-off."

"I will ensure that you are well facilitated so that you do your work uninterrupted," he added.

Ahead of the August 9 General Election, the Lynn Mengich-led SRC scrapped sitting allowances of MPs and senators in plenary sessions and committees.

MPs earn about Sh5,000 for every sitting.

SRC also touched on the mileage allowances of the MPs which resulted in car grants for all state officials being scrapped, resulting in MPs being paid car maintenance allowance at a rate of Sh356,525 per month.

MPs will also be reimbursed a claimable mileage of one return journey per week at the rate of 116.63 per kilometre, based on a car of engine capacity not exceeding 3000cc.

The commission abolished Sh5 million car grant and transport mileage.

The MPs have threatened to initiate the process to disband the SRC after slashing their allowances.

Saboti MP Caleb Amisi urged SRC to reinstate the allowances to make it easier for them to work for their constituents.

"We are all in support it was an unfair reduction. Other public servants' packages are increased and reviewed but for us, we don't know why they attack Parliament," he said

Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi said SRC must embrace the spirit of consultation and dialogue. "So we want to leave it all to the Speaker and believe in that he will make the right decision for us," said Mr Wandayi.

Kiambaa MP John Njuguna Wanjiku said Kenya Kwanza Alliance lawmakers will work irrespective of whether the allowances are restored or not

"The biggest headache will not be on where SRC will get the funds should they amend what they had slashed for the MPs having that the new government has already complained of shortage of funds at the country's Treasury," said Wanjiku

The lawmakers were taken through the legislative process such as how to sponsor Bills, bring petitions and make personal statements.

Wetang'ula asked the MPs to familiarise themselves with the Constitution as it will be a key guide in House sittings when they contribute to a Bill.

He further urged lawmakers to familiarise themselves with the Standing Orders as "that is the one word that has been highly misused."

Earlier, a section of Azimio MPs had plotted a protest walkout against the Judiciary should Chief Justice Martha Koome address the meeting, however, she send the President of the Court of Appeal Daniel Musinga to represent her at the event.

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