Don’t meddle with constituency offices, legislators tell PSC
Legislators have rejected a move by the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) to control the number and qualifications of employees at constituency offices.
The commission wants the employees’ qualification to include university degree certificates, with salaries pegged at Sh115,000 for the highest paid and Sh35,000 for the lowest.
The PSC had also directed that MPs reduce their employees at constituency offices to five.
But furious lawmakers have rejected the proposals, accusing the commission of interfering with their mandate.
“How can PSC control my constituency office? I am the one who understands the needs of my people,” said Limuru MP Chege Kiragu (above).
He said almost a hundred constituents had written to him seeking employment. “Setting qualification standards is not wrong but pegging salaries at over Sh100,000 is misadvised. In fact, it takes long for PSC to release these salaries,” Kiragu said.
Sirisia MP John Waluke, while opposing the proposals, said the demands in different constituencies should inform the number of workers to be employed.
Many MPs have experienced difficulties while dealing with the welfare of their staff, with drivers and bodyguards seeking higher salaries — up from Sh19,000 currently to Sh50,000 — and better welfare. The bodyguards also want their roles defined, as some have been turned into errand boys by their bosses.
They propose the formation of a Parliamentary Police Unit to champion their welfare.
The drivers and bodyguards have previously complained they were overworked but paid a paltry Sh19,000 monthly to serve bosses earning about Sh1 million. They wanted the PSC to peg their payment at Sh50,000.
The commission is yet to act on the petition eight years after it was presented.
In a petition to the speakers of the two Houses of Parliament, they have also faulted the double taxation by PSC and the National Police Service (NPS) as well as lack of risk, night and medical allowances.
The security officers wanted their allowances harmonised with those of colleagues in institutions such as the Central Bank of Kenya who earn Sh45,000 as security allowance.
.”We put our lives on the line for our bosses. It is our duty but we also have families who depend on us and therefore we should be remunerated well to cater for our needs,” said an officer who declined to be named.
“We recently lost colleagues attached to the late (Kabete MP George) Muchai. This just demonstrates how demanding our job is,” he added.
Muchai was killed by gunmen alongside his driver and two bodyguards.
The bodyguards also want their roles defined, as they claim some have been turned into errand boys for their bosses.
They propose the formation of the Parliamentary Police Unit by PSC to look into their welfare.
The errands, which they say do not fall within their job descriptions, include taking their bosses’ children to school, picking their spouses from work, shopping for the family and booking rooms for VIP ‘clients’.
“It is especially challenging working for divorced bosses. They are always organising impromptu travel and you are expected to organise accommodation for them, without consideration for where you will sleep,” said another bodyguard.
Bodyguards and drivers do not qualify for the Sh6,300 night allowance approved by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) on such occasions; it is restricted to visits to constituencies over the weekend.
They also rarely go on leave as stipulated in their contracts, yet there is no compensation for forfeited leave days.
They have also recommended that they should be provided with a reliable means of transport home after work.