Of a Broke Member of Parliament, and a Fresh Push by Kenyan legislators

Speaking on NTV’s AM Live Show, on Tuesday during a heated debate on the fresh push by members of parliament to increase their earnings, Hon Otiende Amollo, lawyer and member of parliament for Rarieda, opined to been broke than never before. Following his remarks, a section of Kenyans have come out to heavily criticize the lawmaker, with even some advising him to go back to practicing his private practice, and his former role as an Ombudsman. “It does not add up, how a member of parliament earning a basic salary of Sh 740,000 and allowances totaling what he takes home to about Sh 1.34 million declare that he is broke, what about the ordinary Mwananchi earning close to nothing say”, quipped an angered twitter user.

Greed

Amollo’s remarks come ahead of the move by Kenya’s greedy legislators of increasing their earnings, a move that will foresee these lawmakers receive Sh 250,000 in terms of house allowance and a ‘night’ allowance christened “Domestic Subsistence Facilitation” that will see them earn between Sh 18,200 to Sh 24,000 on a daily basis. Other panelists during the AM Live Show, former Gem member of parliament, Jakoyo Midiwo, Kericho’s senator Aaron Cheruiyot, and Kiambu’s senator Kimani Wamatangi, defended the move to see an increase in Member of Parliament’s perks citing that most of their salaries go into helping their people.

This brazen move comes despite Kenya’s Members of Parliament being some of the most pampered parliamentarians. As had been found out by in a 2013 study by the international monetary fund, and UK- based Independent Parliamentary Standard Authority, Kenya’s lawmakers are second from their Nigerian counterparts in terms of remuneration followed by their Ghanaian, Indonesian, and South African counterparts; pay that is way above what their counterparts in more developed countries such as Britain, Japan, and the United States take home.

Currently, the 416 parliamentarians, with 67 in the Senate and 349 in the national assembly enjoy up to Sh 16.5 million annual pay. In addition, the members have lucrative schemes such as a car grant scheme of Sh 5 million that facilitates the buying of luxury cars for a five year term period, a personal car loan of as much as Sh 7 million which is repayable at a 3 percent interest rate. Furthermore, the members are entitled to a monthly car maintenance allowance of about Sh 356,625, a weekly mileage allowance of about Sh 109 per kilometer, for a maximum of 750 Kilometres per week, as well as eligibility to a state-backed mortgage of Sh 20 million.

Opposition

In the wake of the move by parliamentarians to increase their allowances, however, Lobby groups and five human group defenders in Mombasa, Human Rights Agenda, Sisters for Justice, the Institute of Human Rights and Empowerment and Haki Africa, have come out to protest against the house allowance, and even threatened to take to the streets. Equally, the clergy from the Anglican denomination has addressed this move, citing it as greed while in the same light asking for the Salaries and Regulation Commission to intervene in the matter, seeing that the body is responsible for public officers salaries. 

Gatundu parliamentarian, Moses Kuria, has equally come in full opposition to the Domestic Subsistence Allowance, condemning the greed by his colleagues. In a letter addressed to the Clerk of the National Assembly, Kuria slams the ‘night’ allowance proposition by remarking he finds no reason for warranting payments for the Members of Parliament who are on Official Parliamentary duty in Nairobi.

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