Economy

MCAs dig in over Sh8 billion payout

mcas

Caucus of MCAs Chairman Victor Mutuma(centre) leading MCAs drawn across the 47 counties in addressing a press conference at Serena Hotel in Nairobi on May 16, 2021. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG

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Summary

  • Appearing before the Supreme Court, the MCAs through the County Assemblies Forum argued that it was wrong for the Court of Appeal to overturn their compensation, yet their term was reduced by eight months.
  • Through lawyer Charles Njenga the MCAs argued before a bench presided by Chief Justice Martha Koome that, if former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commissioners were compensated for the loss of term, then the same should apply to the MCAs.
  • IEBC and Attorney General urged the court to be guided by public interest considerations when arriving at decisions which have grave ramifications on the budgetary process and appropriation of public funds.

Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) are pressing on with a push to be paid about Sh8 billion which they claim was as a result of reduction of their terms ahead of the 2017 General Election.

Appearing before the Supreme Court, the MCAs through the County Assemblies Forum argued that it was wrong for the Court of Appeal to overturn their compensation, yet their term was reduced by eight months.

According to the MCAs, their five-year term should have expired on March 3, 2018, but the election date had been set for August 8, 2017, thereby reducing the legislators’ term.

Through lawyer Charles Njenga the MCAs argued before a bench presided by Chief Justice Martha Koome that, if former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commissioners were compensated for the loss of term, then the same should apply to the MCAs.

“This court should take judicial notice of the fact that when the chairman and commissioners of the IEBC, were in September 2016, forced to resign en masse to pave way for the current leadership, they were all paid compensation commensurate to the period of the remainder of their terms under the constitution,” Mr Njenga submitted.

The MCAs had been awarded the amount by High Court judge Edward Mureithi but a bench of three judges of the Appellate court quashed the decision. The court of appeal judges said the MCAs would have been entitled to a salary and related emoluments, had they rendered service to the public.

Mr Njenga argued that when it quashed the judgment, the Court of Appeal basically declared Article 177(4) redundant and inapplicable.

“This court as the custodian of the constitution must reject such abuse of its processes and give full effect to all the provisions of the Constitution. Judicial ingenuity howsoever novel and creative cannot be used to oust an express, unequivocal and unambiguous provision of the Constitution,” he said.

He said the MCAs, are entitled to payment of their salaries and other benefits for the eight months, which was prematurely reduced.

IEBC and Attorney General urged the court to be guided by public interest considerations when arriving at decisions which have grave ramifications on the budgetary process and appropriation of public funds.

Mr Thande Kuria for the AG said if the decision was not overturned, the payment to the MCAs would cost the taxpayer approximately Sh8 billion, a sum which has not been budgeted for by Parliament.

“This will create a macro-economic imbalance in addition to ballooning the wage bill and causing an unnecessary burden on the taxpayer,” he said.

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