A leaked recording of the 7-hour session between Members of Parliament and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) has surfaced online- with legislators clamouring for the reinstatement of allowances.
In what was a heated exchange between the lawmakers and the SRC chair Lyn Mengich in Parliament on Wednesday, September 21, the MPs did not mince their words.
They went after Mengich, terming the move as unfair after some of their allowances were scrapped.Salaries and Remuneration Commission chairperson Lyn MengichFile
"Take your time and visit the work of MPs and you will learn that you can never grade us with anyone. We are exceptional human beings. Some of the work we do, you wonder whether we are human beings or NGOs," Baringo Woman Representative, Florence Jematia stated.
Nominated MP John Mbadi argued that it was unreasonable for SRC to scrap the plenary sitting allowances which is a tradition in most jurisdictions.
"Sitting allowance is a tradition in most jurisdictions. You cannot take away plenary sitting allowances, what has it done to you? We've been receiving these funds since the inception of Parliament. Why are you fixing something that is not broken?" he posed.
Embakasi East legislator Babu Owino called upon his counterparts to slash the budget for the commission as means of retaliation should the chair not reinstate the allowances.
"Madam Lyn, your actions are very belligerent. They've caused us anguish. We sit down in a budget committee and decide on what you get as SRC hence I would urge MPs to draw their swords and start biting. Therefore we're going to cut your budget by half," Owino claimed.
MP Budalangi, Raphael Wanjala also rallied for politicians in a polygamous setting to be considered.
"Previously, we used to put two wives on medical insurance. You're placing me as a man on a collision course to choose who I love most. I'm not able to know who will be sick next."
"You have also placed conditions for the children I have sired. In Kenya, no law prohibits us from giving birth to more than four children. I sire many children because it is my Christian duty to fill the world," he lamented.
While trying to restore order, National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula urged the SRC not to practice micro-management policies on Parliament, an independent institution.
He urged the chair to look into the issue and address MPs' welfare in terms of allowances.
"I remember vividly your predecessor saying she does not understand the role of an MP and doesn't care. We don't want that attitude and I'm sure you're not in that frame of mind. Some of these issues are administrative such as the car allowance, the commission will deal with it for you."
"Things like per diem, I want to urge SRC that since Parliament is an independent institution and once they have their budget let them run it, excessive micromanagement on an institution like this can have grave consequences," he added.National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula addressing MPs during the induction retreat at the Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, o Monday, September 19, 2022.National Assemblycollision
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