Kenyans have protested a move by elected Members of Parliament to reject pay cuts structured by the Salaries and renumeration Commission (SRC) in July.
Gladys Wanga, the Homay Bay Woman Representative-elect who is a member of the outgoing PSC team, said on Wednesday that the new pay for MPs was meant to rob Parliament of its status, adding that legislators will not accept anything less than the package MPs in the eleventh Parliament were taking home.
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Wanga 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,” stressed Wanga.
Mbita Member of Parliament, Millie Odhiambo, speaking on the JKL show also rejected the move by SRC to slash their salaries.
“Kenyans should ask themselves very tough questions. Why was I, as Millie Odhiambo, spending between Sh500,000 and 1 million on campaigns a day? Where do I get this kind of money from? If you do not want me to spend this kind of money, then you can talk about my salary. Kenyans should be told the truth. The elections have become all about money. If you don’t have any money as a woman, I’ll tell you, don’t waste your energy.
“I am getting into parliament on a negative. Any salary I get will take me a while to fill that gap. Let’s be realistic. We do not have a social security system. I spend at least KSh 200,000 per week on funerals on my constituents and they are poor. There is no system to support them. I also have to deal with churches and education bursaries.
“We do not get any cash from our parties because no party will give you any money. They might give you campaign money but that is rare because the government closed our coffers. I receive my salary, pay a mortgage of KSh 300,000 and the rest goes to my constituents.
“I spend more than my salary to be able to be a member of parliament. We do not have lavish lifestyles. I was richer before I joined parliament, now I’m just getting by. Most people, like me, we go into parliament for public service, but others come in for either prestige or to make money. They get there and discover they will be broke 24/7,” reiterated Odhiambo.
Kenyans online felt that the planned move by the MPs was greed exposed even before they are sworn into office.
The commission led its chairperson Sarah Serem in the new structure slashed MPs salaries from Sh710,000 to Sh621,250 per month.
SRC scrapped legislators car grant of Sh5 million and instead proposed a Sh7 million car loan in addition to the sh20 million mortgage.
Sitting allowances for committee meetings were fixed at a maximum of Sh80,000 for members and Sh128,000 for chairmen, while mileage reimbursement was removed.