ODM leader Raila Odinga has told MPs to stop overburdening Kenyans with hefty perks and allowances.
He faulted the legislators’ plan to increase their salary and allowances, saying the move is uncalled for, especially at a time Kenyans are faced with high cost of living.
Raila told the legislators, being one of the world’s highest paid, to respect and feel the problems bedeviling Kenyans before the ‘selfish push’ for more pay.
He spoke in Kisumu after meeting ODM, elders and religious leaders ahead of the visit by President Uhuru Kenyatta on December 13.
The President, who has also declared he won’t sign the Bill increasing pay for MPs, will be in the lakeside town to launch a pilot of universal health coverage.
Lawmakers have hatched a plot to override SRC control of their pay through the Parliamentary Service Bill, 2018.
Read: MPs plot to overrule Uhuru on pay perks
Raila told MPs to focus on legislation, representation, and oversight role instead of continuing to burden the citizens.
“We will not support the idea of increasing salaries for the legislators. Kenyans are keenly watching and waiting for you at the ballot.”
The ODM leader said the lawmakers have an obligation to respect the Constitution. “Nobody is above the law, including the MPs,” he said.
The former Prime Minister said MPs should be content with their pay as set by the Salary and Remuneration Commission.
He further criticised legislators who went to Russia to watch the World Cup in June, terming it a waste of public funds.
“How do you go to watch World Cup in Russia for benchmarking yet the Kenyan team was not even participating,” he said.
Raila said, “Those legislators who have decided to marry many wives should carry their own cross and not burden Kenyans.”
“Marrying many wives should not be a justification to increase your salary and allowances,” he told MPs.
Raila also criticised MCAs for numerous trips for bonding and benchmarking sessions, saying they are unnecessary.
He said the money used in the activities should instead be channeled to fund development projects that can improve the lives of Kenyans.
He said it was regrettable that MCAs from most assemblies in the country fight over car and mortgage loans and allowances.
Raila cited Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori, Kakamega, Nairobi and Bomet as the worst.
“The MCAs have preferred to stay in other far counties to enable them to earn huge allowances,” he added.
He said it is unfortunate that 70 per cent out of the budget allocation to counties is used to pay salaries and allowances with only 30 percent left for development.
This, Raila said, will be cleaned up after the Building Bridges Initiative team tables its report.
See: SRC slashes President and Governor salaries, abolishes MPs sitting, mileage allowance
Related: MPs scheme to return high pay as Serem term expires
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