Kenyan lawmakers have been ranked the second-highest paid politicians in the world. According to a study by the UK-based Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) the basic pay of Kenyan legislators, which excludes allowances, is 76 times Kenya’s GDP per capita of Sh84,624.
Kenyan politicians (wenyenchi) earn a basic salary of Sh6.39 million per year yet Kenya’s per capita income is much lower than that of developed countries.
AFRICA HOME TO MOST EXPENSIVE POLITICIANS
Quite ironic is the glaring finding by the report that show that African legislators earn more compared to their counterparts from the developed economies. As reported, four out of five of the highest paid MPs in the world relative to their country’s GDP are in Africa, with the top five coming from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Indonesia and South Africa.
British MPs earn Sh9.1 million while their American colleagues receive Sh15.1 million in basic pay annually; which is 2.7 and 3.7 times of GDP per person respectively.
HIGHER PAY FOR THEMSELVES – OUR POLITICIANS PRIORITY
The first thing our politicians do once elected to parliament is advocate for higher payer and this was recently witnessed after the March 4th elections were County Representatives kicked off the salary increment demands barely a week after polling day. MPs followed suite and what ensued thereafter was a series of salary row battles between the legislators and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).
The Sarah Serem led SRC was established under Article 230 of the Constitution of Kenya and key among its mandate is to Inquire into and determine the salaries and remuneration to be paid out of public funds to State officers and other public officers.
SRC independence is clearly outlined in the constitution but as it appears the commission has no teeth of its own and has constantly faced blackmail from legislators, to the extend of a good number of them planning to pass a motion in parliament to disband the commission, and as witnessed recently the commission was forced to bend the legislators way.
For instance, early this year the commission advocated a slash in MPs salary from Sh851,000 to Sh532,000 sparking of an outburst from MPs who were not even shy of declaring their plans to disband the commission in public. At the end of the day MPs had the last laugh with a taxable monthly salary of Sh532,000 which is set to increase by Sh44,375 every year plus some hefty allowances which include a weekly mileage allowance of Sh109 per kilometer, a Sh5 million car grant and an unlimited sitting allowances among others.
COUNTY REPS GET MORE
SRC once again, in a matter settled at the industrial court, agreed to award County Reps more allowances a move that will see the later earn up to Sh200,000 per month if not more. This came after the county reps disputed the Sh79, 200 monthly salaries as set by SRC and went ahead to paralyze county assemblies until their demands were met. Their allowances include, a mileage allowance of Sh20,000, special duty allowances and an increase in the number of committee sittings from a maximum of four to eight per week, and a house allowance.
LSK TAKES MPS TO HIGH COURT
However, the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) maintains that the body will still proceed with a case it filed at the High Court last month to stop the 11th Parliament from arbitrarily increasing their salary contrary to SRC stipulates.
“We are still pursuing the case. We are seeking to define the parameters within which MPs can interfere with the work of independent commissions,” said Mr Eric Mutua, Chairman of the LSK.
Clearly, what our MPs are doing is a mockery of the salary review process and the Kenya Forum says they should get their act together and give wananchi more priority than their already full pockets.