MCAs vow to reject budget if pay not hiked

Members of the County Assemblies mill around Devolution Principal Secretary Teresia Mbaika (centre) before they ejected her from their inaugural consultative forum on May 3, 2023. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) have threatened to shoot down budgets in their respective devolved units if they do not get a salary increment.

At the same time, the ward representatives ejected Devolution Principal Secretary Teresia Mbaika from the inaugural National MCAs Consultative Forum in Nairobi, yesterday, saying that their issues can only be addressed by President William Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua.

"We are not technocrats. We want politicians to listen to their fellow politicians. We want the Deputy President. The President said it is bottom-up and we are at the bottom. The bottom is meeting. Can we now have the top representative come," said Naivasha East MCA, Stanely Karanja.

The MCAs said that what they earn is far below what they are entitled to as waheshimiwa (honourable) to take home.

"MCAs have been given power...We have the power to approve budgets and equally to reject budgets. There's no purpose of power if you can't utilise it. You have power and you are being mistreated, does that make sense?" Posed Mochongoi Ward MCA Kipruto Kimosop.

Gross salary

MCAs currently earn a gross salary of Sh144,376 which includes a basic salary of Sh86,625, a house allowance of Sh45,000 and a salary market adjustment of Sh12,750.

However, they argued that salary adjustments to the office have been scaled downwards from 2013 leaving MCAs unable to meet some of the demands of their constituents.

"In 2013 when the first MCAs took office, the basic salary was Sh123,750 and after five years it rose to Sh165,000. In 2022, the basic salary for an MCA was reduced to 86,625," said Naivasha East MCA, Stanely Karanja.

The MCAs accused the County Assemblies Forum (CAF) of failing to champion their interests and threatened to pull out from the forum and stop monthly contributions.

"CAF is unable to do its work. By the end of today, we are cancelling the annual subscription to CAF," said MCA Chirchir Tarimbo of Kericho County Assembly.

In November last year, CAF was pushing for MCAs to earn about Sh400,000 after Members of Parliament protested the Salaries and Remuneration Commission's decision to slash their basic pay from Sh532,500 to Sh426,000 despite their gross salary getting a slight raise.

MCAs are also pushing for development allocation under the Ward Development Fund. This comes even as the National Assembly seeks to anchor the National Government Constituency Development Fund and Senate Oversight Fund in the Constitution.

There are an estimated 1,450 elected MCAs in the country but the total number is more than 2000 when nominated ward representatives are factored in.

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