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Gladys Wanga: Salary cut for MPs unacceptable

 

Newly elected Members of Parliament are likely to demand improved salaries and allowances, above what is allocated to them by the salaries commission, once they convene for the start of the 12th Parliament.

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Even before the new legislators are sworn into office, a member of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) rubbished the new salary structure for legislators set by Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) Chairperson Sarah Serem, terming the pay as unacceptable.

Gladys Wanga, the Homay Bay Women Representative-elect who is a member of the outgoing PSC team said the new pay for legislators was meant to rob parliament of its status, adding that the new MPs will not accept anything less than the package legislators were taking in the eleventh Parliament.

The Commissioner faulted the SRC over the manner it handled the salaries of legislators, saying there was a deliberate plan by Serem to weaken the position of MPs and Senators, hence the decision to lower their salaries and allowances.

“There is a mission to demean MPs and reduce them to beggars, as was the case in the 1990’s when elected leaders would on Friday’s go begging in government offices. We will not stand up and watch as this plan is systematically executed,” said Wanga.

In July, Serem released a new salary structure that reduced the salaries of state officers, from the President, his Deputy, Cabinet Secretaries, Speakers, Principle Secretaries, Governors, MPs, Senators and Members of County Assemblies, rescuing over Sh8 billion from the country’s bloated wage bill.

In the process, Serem reduced the salary for MPs and Senators from Sh710,000 to Sh 621,000, and further scrapped the Sh5,000 sitting allowances paid to members for attending each plenary session. The salary team further removed all the allowances paid to committee members for attending respective House committees.

Also scrapped was the mileage allowance claimed by legislators for their visits to constituencies with SRC instead creating a zoning criteria, with MPs getting at least a flat rate of Sh266,000 for those whose constituencies are at least within a radius of 750 kilometres from Nairobi.

The salaries Commission also dropped the car grants enjoyed by MPs at the beginning of every parliamentary term, instead enlisting the legislator’s eligibility to a maximum of Sh7 million in car loan, while also reducing their mortgage to a maximum Sh20 million.

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Serem said all the state officers would earn the gazetted pay starting the beginning of this term of office, hence notifying them in advance even as they campaigned for their positions.

It is these raft of measures against legislators that Wanga protested Wednesday, saying while the rationalization of the packages included all other state officers, the legislators appeared more targeted. She said the new MPs will discuss their next move on the matter once the House convenes.

“We will not try to arm-twist anyone, but we will have to talk to our members and engage in serious conversations so that we can at least get what was being paid in the 11th Parliament,” she said.

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