President Kenyatta has rebuked leaders who always push for salary increases at the expense of Kenyans.
Speaking when he opened the Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani blue economy and agribusiness conference in Mombasa, Mr Kenyatta urged all leaders to prioritise the plight of Kenyans and not focus on their financial interests.
“With all due respect, everyone wants to live a good life, but before we as leaders live a good life, we should make sure that our people get the best,” he said.
He said Kenyans appreciate their leaders, but that should not be used to make them poor and suffer.
“Kenyans have no problem with you leaders increasing your salaries, but only if you would work on their situations first. Sadly, here you have a scenario of suffering Kenyans who upon going through the local dailies, find that the MPs, MCAs and all other leaders have increased their salaries. I must say this, I don’t want war with anyone, but I’m saying these are things we must talk about as leaders,” he said.
Mr Kenyatta said he attended a funeral recently where mourners heard of an MP of a vast constituency who used to earn Sh300 per month. “That amount can’t even translate to Sh20,000 now,” President Kenyatta said.
“But today, an MCA takes home Sh20,000 as sitting allowance to stay in the assembly for half an hour,” the President said.
The President spoke amid plans by MPs to have rent-free houses, among other benefits.
All 416 MPs, Speakers of both Houses and majority leaders in both chambers will each be provided with a rent-free house, a government vehicle, an expanded medical cover, travel allowances and an expanded constituency outreach operation, if a new Bill becomes law.
Proposals for better terms for legislators — already among the best-paid in the world with a Sh1.2 million salary — are contained in the Parliamentary Service Bill that is set for debate in the National Assembly tomorrow afternoon.
The Bill is partly based on the recommendations of the National Assembly Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs. The committee, chaired by Baringo North MP William Cheptumo, tabled the report in the National Assembly last Thursday.
Among its proposals is that all the 416 members and Speakers of the two Houses be given official residences or a “suitable house allowance.”