President William Ruto has assured Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) that the gaps that exist between their wages and those of Members of Parliament (MPs) will be bridged in due time.
While addressing the 8th Devolution Conference in Eldoret, Ruto explained that MCAs play a critical role in ensuring that Governors are held accountable.
Per Ruto's perspective, a substantial disparity in the financial benefits of MCAs should be avoided, especially considering the Constitution has vested them with significant powers aimed at preventing the decentralization of corruption to the Counties.
"I have requested SRC to give proper advisory on the matters wages and salaries. It is a subject that as a country, we must confront and find an agreement.
"I want MCAs to listen to me. You must demand accountability from the County Governors. The MCAs will be treated just like their counterparts in the National Assembly," Ruto assured.
The President told the MCAs that they have the power to approve or reject the governor's budget, noting that this power has been misused to force the County Executives into yielding to corrupt demands from the Ward Representatives.
He implored the MCAs to use the powerful legislative tool to ensure that spending by Governors is aligned with the priorities of the people instead of bullying the County chiefs.
"MCAs will not have to be at the mercy of County bosses since their remuneration will reviewed accordingly to ensure that they are content and avoid corrupt activities," Ruto assured.
In addition to these constitutional powers, Ruto noted that MCAs also have a number of other informal ways to hold governors to account.
He explained that the Ward Representatives should use their connection with the people to hold public hearings to discuss the governor's performance, or use the media to highlight problems with the governor's administration.
"Kenyans across the board, from the entire political divide, want us to stand on the same side against corruption. For this reason, we shall treat corruption at all levels of government as a high-priority law enforcement issue requiring expeditious and decisive response.
"Regardless of position, office or status, any person implicated in the loss of public funds must encounter the punitive consequences of their actions," Ruto explained.
On June 16, MCAs across the country rejected a Ksh10,000 salary increment that was proposed by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).
The SRC had proposed the salary increment in its 2023-2024 budget review. The SRC argued that the increment was necessary to improve the welfare of MCAs, based on their responsibilities.
However, the MCAs rejected the proposal, saying that it was insensitive to their plight, noting that they are struggling to make ends meet.