Kakamega MCAs suspend sittings as they demand higher salaries

Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa shakes hands with a section of MCAs during the opening of the Second Session on February 14, 2023. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Members of the County Assembly of Kakamega (MCAs) have suspended their sittings demanding better pay from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).

The MCAs have now resolved to only concentrate on attending committees’ sittings, where the bulky oversight work will be executed.

Last year, SRC abolished the plenary sittings allowances for MCAs.

The MCAs join 24 other County Assemblies across the country that have shut down operations to show solidarity and protest against what they say are poor terms and conditions of service.

Through a motion sponsored by the Leader of Majority Philip Maina, the county legislators resolved to discontinue their plenary sittings to show solidarity with their counterparts who have suspended sittings.

“Let it be clear that we have not closed indefinitely. According to our House calendar, we are supposed to proceed on a short recess from July 14 to July 24 but members have resolved to adjourn the House in advance so that they have sufficient time to engage with various government entities in addressing our welfare,” Maina explained.

He said MCAs have put on hold plenary sessions until their plight is addressed by SRC.

“Members will continue to execute other mandates of oversight and representation through various committees,” said Maina. The motion was supported by all members present. The session was chaired by the Speaker James Namatsi.

Maina noted that during the recess, the MCAs will have some time to interact with the electorates in their respective wards and their families.

Early in May this year, MCAs drawn from 47 County Assemblies gathered in Nairobi and made several resolutions demanding a review of their salary and other matters touching on their welfare.

Some of their demands include compelling the SRC to reinstate mileage allowances to comply with AA rates, reinstatement of their plenary sessions allowances, review members’ remuneration and other benefits, County Assemblies be granted financial autonomy for the effective execution of their mandates, the establishment of ward development fund and county affirmative fund for nominated MCAs be anchored in law.

While debating on the motion, the members questioned the rationale behind SRC awarding them a salary of close to Sh86,000 against high salaries earned by governors and other elected leaders, which range from Sh500,000 to Sh1 million.

Nominated MCA Godliver Omondi called on senators to join MCAs in calling for better remuneration.

Koyonzo ward MCA Donald Okumu demanded fairness and equity as well as his Marama North counterpart Charles Nandwa and Khalaba ward's Boniface Osanga.