There was a heated exchange in parliament yesterday as Jubilee legislators remained divided over President Kenyatta’s memo regarding the retirement benefits of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka.
key Jubilee lawmakers led by the chairman of president Uhuru’s party (TNA) Johnson Sakaja joined their opposition counterparts in condemning Majority Leader Aden Duale (Garissa Township) over the illegal clause contained in the presidential memo on the Retirement Benefits (Deputy President and Designated State Officers) Bill, 2015 which mandates Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka to quit elective politics before they enjoy their pension millions.
Sakaja blamed president Uhuru’s advisors for misleading him over the issue, which he termed as a “petty and unconstitutional proposal”.
“This is an unreasonable restriction. The little money that is due to go to the former Prime Minister and Vice President is not for campaigns. It is for services already rendered. Those who are misadvising the President on this issue to make him look petty and vindictive are not doing us a service,” said Sakaja.
“The government loses nothing by being magnanimous and giving people their rights. You can’t deny people their rights. I know the President well and this does not look like him,” he said.
Kabando wa Kabando (Mukurweini) and Mithika Linturi (Igembe South)
termed the amendment as mischievous and illegal and maintained that the benefits were for work that had been already done.
“I honestly and very sincerely oppose that mischievous amendment. In any case when we pay pension dues we recognize the work that has already been done. It will be very dishonest to stand and say that the people that served in the office of VP and PM did not do anything meaningful. It is a right that you cannot take from anybody.”
However, there was no enough quorum in the House to shoot down the Memo as 233 MPs were needed to reject Uhuru’s proposal, but there were hardly 100 lawmakers in the House.
TROUBLE IN PARADISE?
The discourse witnessed by Jubilee MPs against the president’s memo comes in the wake of a similar difference that saw the legislators reject Uhuru’s nominee for Secretary to the Cabinet, Monica Juma last week.