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President Kenyatta rejects MPs push for higher pay

President Uhuru Kenyatta. He has warned MPs pushing for salary raise that they are on their own. FILE PHOTO | PSCU | NATION MEDIA GROUP
President Uhuru Kenyatta. He has warned MPs pushing for salary raise that they are on their own. FILE PHOTO | PSCU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

President Kenyatta has vowed that will not support MPs’ move to raise their salaries if the Supreme Court validates his election.

Mr Kenyatta on Thursday said he would not sign any Bill passed by MPs raising the lawmakers’ pay and allowances.

“We're not on the same page... I’ll not endorse any increase even if they want to hate me,” Mr Kenyatta said when he met heads of Catholic schools at Catholic University of Eastern Africa in Nairobi.

“When they were contesting for the seats, they knew the salaries so they cannot turn around even before they are sworn in and start complaining.”

The president was reacting to a plan by MPs to reject the new salary structure by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) that seeks to reduce the public wage bill.

The MPs are set to be sworn in next Thursday but some have already expressed their displeasure with cuts in their pay and allowances.

The protesting MPs have indicated that they may seek to quash the SRC gazette notice reducing their pay.

The lawmakers, through the Parliamentary Service Commission, have accused the SRC of unfairly targeting them in its efforts to slash the public wage bill. 

Homa Bay Woman Representative-elect Ms Gladys Wanga, who is a member of PSC, accused the salaries commission of embarking on a mission to drastically reduce MPs’ pay and allowances without having carried out a job evaluation exercise as required by the Constitution.

Addressing a news conference at Parliament buildings on Wednesday, Ms Wanga said SRC wants to demean lawmakers, a move she said they would resoundingly reject.

“There is a sustained campaign by SRC to reduce MPs to beggars and people who move from one office to another asking for handouts and this will not happen under our watch,” Ms Wanga said.

But Mr Kenyatta said he will not ink such like a move, terming it as "shameful".

“They can take it or leave it,” he said. “Leadership is about serving people not enriching ourselves.”

Under the new structure, gazetted on July 12, MPs’ salaries have been fixed at Sh621,250 down from Sh710,000 and their plenary sitting allowances of Sh5,000 removed.

Highest-earning officers

The salary of the highest-earning officers, the Speaker of both the National Assembly and the Senate, was also slashed to Sh1,155,000 from Sh1,320,000.

MPs also lost their car grant of Sh5 million and will instead be entitled to a Sh7 million car loan in addition to Sh20 million mortgage.

The legislators’ transport allowances will also now be paid once a month based on rates fixed for the distances covered, which have been classified into five groups.

They range between Sh266,663 for a return journey of 750km and Sh738,833 for more than 1,500km.

SRC explained that the pay cuts are part of a plan to reduce the public sector wage bill by 35 per cent and save the country Sh8.8 billion annually.

The current public sector wage bill stands at 52 per cent of the gross domestic product.

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