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New Kenyan MPs 'seeking higher pay' - what would they earn?

This article is more than 6 years old

Kenya’s newly-elected members of parliament are yet to be sworn in but they are already causing ripples after media reports that they are seeking to raise their salaries.

In July the body that adjudicates public pay in Kenya, the salaries and remuneration commission, proposed a cut in pay and perks of lawmakers from this term (9 August 2017 to the end of the 2022 term).

As explained in an Africa Check factsheet, members of the last parliament made KSh710,000 per month. When allowances are considered this figure could double.

Under the commission’s proposed guidelines the gross monthly pay for a member of parliament would be reduced to KSh621,250 and a number of allowances withdrawn.

The commission also abolished annual pay increases and allowances for attending parliament and sitting in committees. A transport allowance has been capped and reimbursable mileage has been done away with. Also abolished was a generous KSh5 million official car grant.

It is these changes that the soon-to-be sworn in lawmakers are said to be looking to stop, ensuring that they come in at the higher rates earned by the last parliament. Each of the lawmakers who were voted out will take home KSh18.8 million as a pension payoff, causing further controversy.

These new pay terms are set to govern in-coming member of parliaments' salaries and perks. However, as the lawmakers' challenge shows, this could prove an uphill task.

A move to reduce salaries of the current lawmakers in 2013 fell flat after they twisted the salaries commission's arm, over which they have financial and operational oversight, into approving higher pay.

In addition, Kenyan lawmakers are responsible for the law that governs their pay.

-Lee Mwiti (23/08/2017)

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