Uhuru Shoots Down MPs' Extravagant Request

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta in a past event. He refused to sign the Parliamentary Service Bill 2019, instead referring it back to parliament. File
  • Members of Parliament on Tuesday, September 10, were disappointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta's feedback on the Parliamentary Service Bill, 2018.

    Reports by Daily Nation disclosed that the president declined to sign the Bill, instead referring it back to parliament.

    The blocked bill's purpose was to enhance MPs Domestic and foreign travel allowances held outside the precincts of Parliament.

    Parliament in session. President Uhuru Kenyatta declined to sign the Parliamentary Service bill, instead referring it back to parliament.
    Parliament in session. President Uhuru Kenyatta declined to sign the Parliamentary Service Bill, instead referring it back to parliament.

    In a memorandum of August 16, 2019, sent to the National Assembly on Tuesday, September 10, Uhuru argued that signing the bill passed on into law July 4 violates the constitution as the proposal of allowances did not have the input of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).

    “In the exercise of powers conferred on me by Article 115 (1) (b) of the Constitution, I refuse to assent to the Parliamentary Service Bill, 2019, for the reasons set out,” wrote Uhuru in a communication to the National Assembly.

    According to The Standard, the lawmakers had sneaked in amendments to the Bill,  giving themselves a blank cheque and taking away powers of the SRC to determine allowances of 416 legislators in the two Houses.

    The Bill also handed the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) powers to review domestic and international travel allowances for legislators without consulting the SRC.

    Uhuru, therefore, asked the MPs to delete Clause 20(2) of the Bill that hands PSC powers to regularly review both the said travel allowances to MPs and parliamentary staff without seeking advisory from SRC.

    President Kenyatta’s argument was that the review of allowances did not take into consideration or make reference to the role of SRC.

    The facilitation of activities held outside the precincts of Parliament Mp's and their staff would have effectively seen taxpayers pay for these expenditures, as well as their parliamentary group meetings held outside Parliament

    Uhuru also objected a proposal that would have given PSC the powers to pay parliamentary employees after every three years as contained in clause 43 (1) of the Bill, which the president’s memo faults for not taking into account the advisory role of the SRC.

    This provision would have granted the legislators several allowances such as the Ksh 250,000 house allowance and Ksh 18,000 to Ksh 24,000 night allowance.

    The Bill would have seen the MPs granted a room for visitors and another for parliamentary parties, uninterrupted internet connectivity as well as continuous training for the legislators locally and abroad.

    However, Uhuru’s rejection of the Bill meant that MPs will be unable to get greater leverage in pushing for some of their pending demands, among them the provision of a gift shop where they can buy presents.

    Salaries and Renumeration Commission
    Salaries and Remuneration Commission chairperson Sarah Serem.