National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi debates with no respect to constitutional offices
| May 31st 2013
By Peter Nguli
NAIROBI, KENYA: The debate for higher pay by Members of Parliament (MPs) has reached alarming proportions. It is almost out of control and the country is being held at ransom by a bunch of inconsiderate leaders.
The legislatures should tread carefully and stop threatening Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) from Parliament chambers.
While it is within constitutional right for MPs to debate on their salaries, the leaders should select words used in the debate cautiously.
The language used in the salaries debate by both the Speaker of National Assembly Justin Muturi and members of parliament are threatening and shows disrespect to the Salaries and Remuneration Commission chaired by Sarah Serem.
Just listen again to what the speaker said recently "Parliament will take action and we will see where Serem and her team will go,” These are threatening words to the chair of SRC, an institution clearly given mandate to regulate salaries by the constitution.
From such elements of arrogance, I guess many are wondering why Muturi has been given Speaker’s post within Kenya’s system.
Right from the onset and without even passing a single legislation, the MPs have made pay rise their first priority. They have indicated clearly that their interest is not in serving the citizens of Kenya diligently but minding of how to enrich themselves at the expense of poor Kenyans.
While we applaud the High Court ruling suspending any salary increment at least for now, there are serious integrity matters pertaining to how MPs should address the SRC. Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi , together with members such as Mithika Linturi are becoming emotional and are fast loosing their dignity.
The SRC Chair has rightly stood her ground relentlessly without losing ground, with support from forty million Kenyans behind her. What the speaker and MPs fail to understand is that their salaries are paid for from the sweat of the taxpayer who has to toil very hard to make ends meet in a harsh economic climate.
Muturi and company seems not to understand that the common mwananchi is their employer and he together with his flock, can be sacked at will without notice, by recalling them.
Kenya legislatures are among the highest paid in one of the most poorest countries in the world. Over 60 per cent of the population live on one dollar per day while MPs earn over 100 times the national minimum wage. Our country harbors one of the biggest slums in the world, with many living on one meal per day.
The current speaker of the National Assembly and his friend Mithika Linturi are spewing unchecked words to SRC, without digesting them first or even minding their ultimate audience.
As Sarah Serem insists, our wage bill is too high against our GDP.
Instead of increasing salaries, we need fiery austerity measures including far-reaching radical cuts in order to bridge up the deficit. This will include reducing salaries. Sadly, Muturi, Linturi, Duale and all other greedy MPs do not understand economics, they think money is harvested from trees. The MPs should also understand that if their salaries are increased, this will open the door for other civil servants to strike because they will argue that they are justified to cause civil unrest in demand for high pay since MP's salaries have been increased.
Serem should remain firm and should not retreat or waiver because all Kenyans are behind her.
Its the high time a legislation is passed such that Members of Parliament are banned from debating their own salaries in parliament, once and for all.
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