Following reports on the media that MPs had finally settled for the monthly salary set by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (Sh532,000) Kenyans sighed with relief that at last our elected representatives in the House of Assembly had got their act together and bowed to pressure from the public to cut their greed in advocating for better pay. We should have known better.
SH1 MILLION A MONTH
It transpires that MPs will be taking home close to Sh1 million every month following the hefty allowances they were awarded, an amount that actually surpasses the Sh851,000 MPs were asking for and which parliamentarians in the 10th parliament used to earn.
HORSE TRADING AT RUTO’S RESIDENCE
As details emerged of the circumstances that led MPs to settle for the salary offered by the Sarah Serem Commission, it appears that it was the result of ‘horse trading’ between the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) in the meeting held at the Deputy President’s residence.
UNLIMITED SITTING ALLOWANCES
The SRC for instance gave in to PSC demands that will see MPs draw unlimited sitting allowances other than those set earlier by the Commission. An MP will now be entitled to a sitting allowance of Sh5, 000 with the number of sittings by parliamentary committees not limited as the SRC had advocated. Apparently each MP belongs to at least one parliamentary committee.
The PSC wanted the SRC to double the sitting allowances for MPs from Sh5,000 to Sh10,000, raise the perks for the vice chairperson of a committee from Sh8,000 to Sh15,000 and double that of the chairperson from the current Sh10,000 to Sh20,000.
MPS SH5 MILLION CAR ALLOWANCE
MPs on the other end agreed to the Sh5 million car grant set by the SRC giving up their demands for Sh7 million figure. Besides the grant, the ‘wenyenchi’ will also be entitled to an optional car loan facility of up to Sh7 million.
In addition to this, MPs will also get a weekly mileage allowance of Sh109 per kilometer up to a maximum of 750 kilometers. Those who travel beyond that distance will be paid at a rate of 70 per cent the rates as approved by the Automobile Association of Kenya, for all the extra kilometers.
According to SRC, this option is cheaper compared to the Government providing a chauffeur-driven vehicle to all the 416 Members of Parliament. The mileage allowance is to facilitate their movements to their respective constituencies.
The Commission has also retained the same retirement benefits provision which previously it had planned to cancel.
KENYANS CRY FOUL
Kenyans feel shortchanged in the deal settled by SRC as MPs appear set to earn even more than they had bargained for!
Let’s do a little math here.
The taxable monthly salary of Sh532,000 is set to increase by Sh44,375 every year, which means that by the fifth year in office, the monthly salary would be Sh710,000. If an ‘Mpig’ decides to maximize the 750 km in his mileage allowance, it will cost the tax payer a cool Sh81,750 a week, if you add this to their monthly pay it actually surpasses the Sh851,000 MPs were asking for.
By paying MPs 532,000, the SRC brings down the amount spent on MPs salary to around $75,000 a year from the $120,000 members of the last parliament earned but the truth is, the amount saved will somehow still be rolled back to cater for the hefty allowances.
“It’s a win-win situation for both sides,” said commission spokesman Ali Chege. But can Kenyans say the same Mr Chege? Perhaps not!
“THE BIG PIGGIES HAVE GOT WHAT THEY WANTED”
This is what some of them (wananchi) had to say;
“What profession is a politician, while doctors and engineers are earning Sh200,000?” posed Jn Jamba
“It’s a raw deal to the common man”, says Fox Chizzen.
“The devil is pegged in the details. Kenyans are being robbed in broad daylight”, says Maryanne.
“People waste millions in school to make small salaries to ensure unlearned politicians live like kings”, says Eric Njiiru
“The piggy protesters won a bit of a hollow victory. The big piggies have got what they wanted (as we always knew they would) through a bit of chicanery. Ex Africa Semper Aliquid Novi? I don’t think so. Always the same old s*** more like” was John MH’s response.
Is there any point in negotiating, asks the Kenya Forum? Next time we might as well give our Mpigs open cheques!