Kenyan MPs are being hypocritical, says international agency


Kenyan MPs are being hypocritical, says international agency
Transparency International Kenya executive director Samuel Kimeu Photo/Courtesy

In Summary

  • In a statement to advise against the Parliamentary Service Bill, Transparency International said it is hypocritical that MPs claim that the country cannot afford the Gender Bill, but can suddenly afford expanding their allowances.
  • The anti-corruption agency said that the bill is unacceptable, given that the citizens are currently burdened by high taxes and public debt, partly caused by the MPs.

Anti-corruption organisation, Transparency International (TI) has blasted Kenyan Members of Parliament for being hypocritical for pushing for more allowances.

In a statement to advise against the Parliamentary Service Bill where MPs are trying to expand their allowances, TI also chided the legislators for attempts to push back against the Gender Bill.

“It is actually hypocritical for a section of MPs to push back attempts for affirmative action through the Gender Bill with a narrative that the country cannot afford to implement the two thirds principle yet at the same time move to raise their perks,” read the statement signed by Samuel Kimeu, T.I’s Executive Director.

Released on Thursday, the statement indicated that the MPs’ proposal is unacceptable, given that Kenyans are currently burdened by high taxes and public debt, partly caused by the MPs.

“It is unacceptable for Members of Parliament to initiate discussions on improving their perks at a time when the taxpayer is burdened by high taxes and public debt caused majorly by lack of oversight by parliament, wastage and corruption,” said Mr. Kimeu.

To salvage the situation, Transparency International recommends that Parliament avoids conflict of interest by letting the Salaries and Remuneration Commission to assess and review the proposal independently.

“Members of Parliament should be alive to the realities that Kenyans are facing every day. They should, in the spirit of the Constitution, allow independent institutions to perform their functions. By seeking to confer powers of determining their benefits to a body they control, members of parliament are engaging in unacceptable conflict of interest,” added T.I.

MPs on Tuesday voted to approve the Parliamentary Service Bill 2018 during its second reading, the penultimate stage to awarding themselves hefty perks.

It will, among other things, award MPs fuel allowances despite already drawing mileage allowance and establish an enhanced Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC). The Bill will also seek to reconsider the MPs welfare including introducing house allowances, despite them already having a mortgage facility of up to Ksh.20 million as well as expand their medical cover to include any second wives, travel allowances and an expanded constituency outreach operation kitty.

The legislators fiercely defended the Bill, insisting they have no apologies to make to anyone. They defended some of the provisions, saying that they have two offices at their constituencies and in the capital, and the SRC should understand.

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Story By Linda Ngari
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