Lawmakers open new war with SRC over allowances

Tuesday, September 20th, 2022 00:44 | By
Moses Wetang'ula
National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang'ula. PHOTO/Parliament/Facebook

Members of Parliament yesterday launched a fresh push to have the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) reinstate their lucrative allowances.

Lawmakers yesterday refused to be addressed by SRC chairperson Lyn Mengich, who had been listed as a panelist during their induction workshop, protesting the commission’s move to scrap their allowances and mileage claims.

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula was forced to intervene and assure the irate MPs that talks to have their perks reinstated had commenced. Wetang’ula was speaking when he opened the MPs’ five-day induction conference.

He assured the lawmakers that he had engaged SRC over the contentious allowances and had held a meeting with Mengich earlier in the day over the matter.

He added that Mengich will only address them once their issues have been sorted.

“I want to assure you that this morning I had a meeting with SRC and I have called them to order on a few things. Be sure that by the time we leave this induction, we will be able to make some changes on your privileges and other facilities to enable you to do your work,” Wetang’ula assured the agitated MPs.

He added: “It is not always going to be like this, nobody in their right mind will interfere with your allowances and what you are entitled to, as your Speaker I will ensure that I engage faithfully with all the other agents and ensure you are adequately facilitated.”

Addressing the lawmakers, Wetang’ula said he was aware that members have too much to deal with hence the need for them to be remunerated adequately.

He said there was need for the scraped allowances to be reinstated so that MPs do not suffer.

“An MP is a funeral undertaker, midwife, extension officer, vet, a counsellor on social issues and also the local ATM. My leadership will ensure that we facilitate you discharge some of those unexpected duties,” Wetang’ula held.

He added; “SRC will only come here to address you after I have made a communication on what we have agreed.”

Intervention by Wetang’ula came after the lawmakers declined to be addressed by Mengich following the decision by her commission to slash their allowances.

Final say

Acting Clerk Serah Kioko was forced to drop the idea of introducing the SRC boss after irate lawmakers declined to listen to her.”

“We can amend the programme to fit what you want. The Speaker will give the final say and guide you accordingly. It does not have to be the way we want,” Kioko told the MPs.

Wetang’ula assured the legislators that as the Speaker, he will ensure that the reforms are achieved and even if there will be changes, they shall not be substantial.

He further called upon the new legislators to familiarise themselves with the Constitution as it will be a key guide in House sessions while they contribute to a bill.

“I want to encourage new members, please take the earliest opportunity to learn. Please acquaint yourself with the Constitution that you have taken an oath to protect, reserve and defend it, so that anything we do in the floor of the house is guided by the law,” urged Wetang’ula.

Yesterday’s standoff between the MPs and SRC follows the latter’s decision to abolish sitting allowances and car grants, which the lawmakers were previously entitled to.

In scraping the allowances, the salaries body explained that it was informed by analysed consultative public engagements with the public, besides considering a judgment by the Employment and Labour Relations court in 2019, which directed the deconsolidation of the remuneration for State officers.  Mengich also announced that mileage allowances will also be abolished in the term starting this month.

Speakers of the National Assembly and Senate will both earn a gross salary of Sh1.1 million. Their deputies will earn Sh928,000. An MP and Senator will each earn Sh710,000.

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