Kenya: MPs Demand for Higher Salaries is a Reflection of Capitalist Greed, Theft and Plunder

Abolish all privileges for MPs in Kenya

police brutality

Peaceful protestors being brutalized by Kenyan police

If KRA were in power, the question of MPs demanding higher salaries could not have arisen in the first place. This is because at a salary of Ksh 532.000, their monthly income is already 425 times higher than that of the average income of Kenyans. In fact, a KRA President could have ordered all MPs who are unhappy with their pay to resign from their positions on grounds that Parliament is not a business enterprise but a House which represents the interests of the people of Kenya.

Secondly, a KRA President could have recommended to the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to work towards reducing the MPs salaries even further to the level of that of an ordinary worker because according to the KRA Manifesto, an MP’s salary should not be more than that of a skilled worker in Kenya. The reason is that Parliament should not be a source of wealth but an institution that enacts laws in the interest of the people of Kenya.

Thirdly, a KRA government could have recommended the scrapping of all privileges for the MP on grounds that the ordinary worker or Kenyan the MP purports to represent does not enjoy any privileges at the work place. Specifically, a KRA government could have recommended the scrapping of the Vehicle Fixed Cost Allowance of Ksh 336.000 on grounds that every Kenyan who can afford to own a car maintains the machine so why should the representative of the people be treated differently?

Next to go would be the Car Maintenance Allowance which stands at Ksh 247.000. Surely, why should a total of Ksh 583.000 of tax payer’s money (more than half a million Kenyan shillings) be used for monthly maintenance of an MPs car? Apart from greed and robbery of the taxpayer, there is no other explanation. This is why under a KRA government, these allowances would be scrapped for good!

While the MPs would be allowed to maintain House Allowance, a KRA government would recommend a reduction of this allowance from Ksh 70.000 to Ksh 50.000 which is still far beyond that of an average Kenyan worker. The Entertainment Allowance, which stands at Ksh 70.000; the Constituency Allowance, which stands at Ksh 50.000; together with Committee Meeting Allowance which stands at Ksh 40.000, would all be scrapped because of two reasons.

Every Kenyan foots his/her own entertainment bill so why should a person who represents them be entertained at the expense of the tax payer? Secondly, the salary paid to an MP is for the work they do and this includes meetings so why should an MP be paid a “Committee Meeting Allowance?” It is pathetic that the MPs are demanding more money when, together with their allowances, they are already taking home Ksh 1.2 million per month.

The most ridiculous observation is that the MPs are seeking the dissolution of the SRC, a Constitutional body, which they accused of violating the Constitution because their salaries were decided before they were elected to Parliament.

Reduce MPs salaries to Ksh 100.000 of less
Under the circumstances, it is barbaric that the Jubilee government sent police to brutalize Kenyans who gathered outside Parliament to protest against the greed of the MPs. The tear-gassing and brutalization of the protestors by riot police is a clear signal that despite the coming of a new government to power, nothing fundamental has changed in Kenya. Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki all used to send riot police to tear gas peaceful protestors and this is what Uhuru Kenyatta is doing so what has changed?

The treatment of the protesters confirms what KRA has been saying for the last 20 years. In a capitalist State, the role of the police is to protect the interests of the rich. The protesters were not violating any law while Kenyans are within their constitutional right to engage in peaceful Assembly. Under the circumstances, KRA condemns the brutalization of Kenyans who were protesting outside Parliament to stop the greed of the MPs.

It is the responsibility of every Kenyan to struggle against the conversion of Parliament into an institution for wealth grabbing especially by the MPs. The view of KRA is that the struggle against greed by the MPs should go hand in hand with demand for the abolition of the capitalist system of government represented by the Jubilee government and which allows the MPs access to huge salaries and allowances that all amounts to stealing from the tax payer. Debating the dissolution of the SRC is an act of treason because SRC draws its mandate from the Constitution which the President and the MPs vowed to protect.

In demanding for the abolition of s system that encourages greed, wealth grabbing, exploitation of workers and plunder of public resources with impunity, KRA is putting forward the alternative of a Socialist system of government where MPs will be on a salary of an ordinary worker and with no privileges.

Let MPs pay for their vehicles and entertainment. Reduce MPs salaries to Ksh 100.000 or less. Scrap all privileges for the MPs. Scrap Committee Allowance. No Meeting Allowances because meetings are part of the job MPs are hired to perform! Let the MPs resign if they are not happy with their salaries. The Kenyan people are the employers and they have said “NO” to greed, exploitation and plunder of public resources. The greedy M-Pigs must be stopped from looting the Kenyan economy.

Okoth Osewe
Secretary General
Kenya Red Alliance (KRA)

6 comments

  • For whatever reasons, such as you have enumerated here, it was unbecoming of the Civil Society to have dragged the kids and relatives to spite their bread-winners busy building the nation in the Bunge.

  • How long will it take Kenya youth before they realize how to struggle and remove such a heinous and savage capitalist system of thugs?Kenyan youth are advised to seek advice from Somali-youth!You dont win anything meeting armed GSU/Police with empty hands unless you are damned fool!Study the Syrian way of fightinga mad Bashir!

  • MPigs take salary

    MPs win Sh1m monthly pay in backdoor deal

    Members of Parliament will earn more than Sh1 million a month under a ceasefire deal agreed with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) on Tuesday night.

    A tabulation of the perks and allowances agreed during the meeting chaired by Deputy President William Ruto shows that the MPs came out as the effective winners in the three-month row that has dominated public discourse since the March 4 election.

    Each of the 416 Members of the National Assembly and Senate will earn at least Sh1.1 million per month, including allowances.

    The legislators — 349 members of the National Assembly and 67 Senators — won critical battles in the salaries war, including unlimited committee sittings, tax-free pensions, enhanced grants to buy fuel guzzlers and a cheap mortgage offer amounting to a major pay increase through the back door.

    While the Tuesday deal retained the monthly salary at Sh532,500, which is taxable at the rate of 30 per cent, it opened the door for more allowances taking their gross earnings past the one-million-shilling mark.

    The MPs left the negotiation room smiling all the way to the bank after the SRC removed the cap it had placed on committee meetings to16 per month.

    Restricting committee meeting to a maximum of four per week meant MPs could earn a maximum sitting allowance of Sh80,000 per month. Although this allowance will be taxed, MPs can now have as many committee sessions as they deem necessary.

    Besides, the legislators will get a top up of Sh135,255 per month for their contributory pension calculated at 31 per cent of their basic salary that will not be taxed. The new arrangement also offers the lawmakers a Sh5 million grant to buy luxury cars – which is 50 per cent higher than the 10th Parliament’s Sh3.3 million.

    “I am very happy that we have reached a deal. Even though we didn’t resolve everything, dialogue is the way to go,” said SRC chairman Sarah Serem in an interview with Business Daily.

    The pact comes a day after civil society groups staged a second demonstration dubbed ‘Occupy Parliament’ to protest MPs’ clamour for higher pay.

    Law Society of Kenya chairman Eric Mutua said the organisation will continue with a case it filed at the High Court last week to stop the 11th parliament from arbitrarily increasing its salaries contrary to what is set by SRC.

    “In order to set precedence, we will prosecute the case to the end. We are seeking to define the parameters within which Parliament can interfere with the works of independent commissions,” Mr Mutua said.

    Justice David Majanja had issued orders barring any State organ from enforcing the National Assembly’s bid to nullify Gazette Notices No. 2885, 2886, 2887 and 2888 issued by the SRC on public officers’ pay.

    (Read: Court extends orders barring MPs’ pay raise)

    In the new pact, lawmakers’ pay will be subject to an annual increment of eight per cent or Sh44,000 – meaning MPs will be taking home a basic pay of Sh710,000 per month by the time the House ends its term in 2017.

    MPs with additional responsibilities – leader of majority and minority and whips – are entitled to additional allowances capped at Sh150,000 per month. Opening up departmental and standing committees to unlimited sittings offers MPs a new window to rake in more earnings.

    Those who chair such teams will earn Sh10,000 and their deputies Sh8,000 per session. MPs have also made their pension earnings tax free contrary to Income Tax Act’s provision that pension contributions exceeding Sh20,000 a month or Sh240,000 annually be taxed.

    “Parliament will have to bear the additional cost to meet the tax payments as pension is a taxable benefit. It may be because Parliament is not a taxable organisation,” said Michael Mburugu, tax director at PKF East Africa.

    Previously, the law makers had a contributory scheme into which they paid 12.6 per cent of their earnings with the Treasury contributing an additional 25.4 per cent of the MPs salaries.

    The SRC had proposed that the contributory scheme be abolished in favour of a gratuity scheme equivalent to 31 per cent of annual basic pay for every year served.

    Gratuity schemes are benefit schemes mostly used to send off employees engaged in short and fixed term contracts such as MPs. It is mostly used in the private sector and is based on completed working years.

    Kenyan lawmakers will also smile to the bank as they collect new mileage claims that have pegged at Sh109 per kilometre for up to 750 kilometres per week. Additional travel distance will be compensated at the rate of 70 per cent or Sh76.30 per kilometre as approved by the Automobile Association of Kenya.

    This gives the MPs an opportunity to earn additional Sh327,000 in monthly travel allowances. The move will benefit more legislators from far-flung areas such as Turkana, Marsabit, Moyale, Mandera and Lamu among others.

    The distance from Nairobi to Lodwar, Turkana County is 700 kilometres by road, meaning lawmakers from the region will be covering at least 1,400 kilometres for a return journey. This translates to annual travel costs of at least Sh1.77 billion for the bicameral house. The mileage allowances are not taxable.

    “Mileage is not taxable as it is an actual reimbursement of travel expenses incurred while discharging one’s duties,” said Mr Mburugu.

    Legislators will sigh with relief after the SRC reneged on its earlier offer of giving them up to Sh7 million car loan repayable at an interest rate of three per cent per annum within five years or before end of term.

    “Based on this cost benefit analysis by the SRC, this was found to be a more viable option as opposed to government providing chauffeur-driven vehicles to all the 416 MPs,” SRC said in a statement.

    The Sh5 million per MP car grant will cost tax payers a one-off expense totalling Sh2.08 billion.

    MPs, however, lost a bid to have interest-free mortgages as was in the previous Parliament. Legislators who served in the 10th Parliament were given interest-free home loans of up to Sh15 million.

  • SRC’s demand- KEs. 532,000; Mpigs’ demand- Kes 851,000; Ruto’s Deal- Kes 1,100,000. Who is the enemy of the people? Now you know

  • ruto magic to get mps pay deal isnt suprising.the jubilee were all along intent in fooling and robbing kenyans.the speaker said as much.linturi said so.uhuru was not categorical.he gave hint at night for the dealing and wheeling to go on behind the scenes as to kenyans unaware what ashame.they may as well get jet leases going on ,revive old court cases for billion shillings award … the old order is back …whose money is it anyway ? time will prove that kenya wisdom in electing jubilee is coming with price .

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