Atwoli supports MPs pay rise because ‘Kenyans demand for handouts from them’


Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli has urged MPs from Western Kenya to help revive Mumias ...
COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli during a past address. PHOTO | FILE

In Summary

  • Atwoli slammed Kenyan citizens for allegedly demanding for handouts from their respective MPs, thereby pushing them to engage in corrupt activities so as to be able to cope.
  • According to the outspoken COTU boss, the culture of handouts has enhanced graft in the country.
  • Atwoli further urged Kenyan citizens to engage in self-sustaining activities such as farming instead of depending on their leaders as sources of their livelihood.

Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General Francis Atwoli has come out to strongly support a push for pay increment by Members of Parliament.

Atwoli, while addressing a press conference on Monday, slammed Kenyan citizens for allegedly demanding for handouts from MPs, saying this has pushed the lawmakers to engage in corrupt activities so as to be able to cope.

According to the outspoken COTU boss, the culture of handouts has enhanced graft in the country, adding that “we cannot fight corruption if we, the governed, do not behave well.”

“If you elect me and you expect hand-outs from me, then I expect you to pay me well,” said Atwoli.

“Unless Kenyans change their culture of converting honorable MPs into their private banks, then they are justified in their quest to demand more allowances.”

He added: “If today an MP comes to your constituency to attend a funeral and he donates Ksh.3,000 or Ksh.5,000, you will hear people murmuring, as if it is a must that he donates.”

Atwoli further urged Kenyan citizens to engage in self-sustaining activities such as farming instead of depending on their leaders as sources of their livelihood.

“Kenya, God gave us good climatic condition; we can do other things. We can go to those small acreage of our land, produce potatoes and sell on the market and get something small… other than turning our MPs into medical insurance,” he stated.

“We have turned our MPs into pension schemes; we have turned our MPs into saccos; we have turned our MPs into banks; we have turned our MPs into school fees and everything.”

He further stated: “Once an MP lands in his rural area, if he does not have about Ksh.200,000 or Ksh.300,000, he’s in trouble. Kenyans might think I’m crazy, but I’m supporting MPs to demand more from you, taxpayers, due to your behavior.”

Atwoli’s remarks come on the backdrop of reports that MPs and Senators recently pocketed Ksh.936 million each in house allowances.

In addition to their salaries, the 416 MPs will hence receive Ksh.250, 000 monthly; this is despite opposition from Treasury as well as the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).

Each MP is reported to have pocketed Ksh.2.25 million in April as a combined amount for the house allowance backdated from August last year when the Parliamentary Service Commission approved the budget.

Atwoli also recently came under heavy criticism among sections of the public for reportedly turning Labour Day – May 1 – celebrations into a political rally.

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Story By Ian Omondi
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