Orange Democratic Movement party leader Raila Odinga has criticised MPs for their clamour for enhanced perks, terming the Parliamentary Service Commission Bill as ‘anti-people and insensitive’ that should be disowned and rejected.
Voicing his opposition of the Bill that seeks to enhance MPs allowances, Mr Odinga told the lawmakers to appreciate that the country is struggling with huge debts that cut through a broad spectrum of the economy and deficits strangling specific critical sectors.
“Parliamentary Service Commission Bill is a case of grand larceny and an anti-people and insensitive demand that should be disowned and rejected as inappropriate and unacceptable to a great majority of Kenyans, if not all, at this time,” Mr Odinga said in a statement.
The former Prime Minister appealed to the lawmakers that as custodian of the wishes of the people, they should lead other branches of the government in ensuring responsible fiscal policy and sustainable and responsible use of public finances, not piling up the burden.
Mr Odinga expressed concern that should MPs pass the Bill, then other workers across the public sector will also demand a pay rise.
“The pay hike conspiracy by MPs is coming at a time other public sector employees such as teachers, nurses and civil servants are going through pay restraint and are generally accepting less pay for much work,” Mr Odinga said.
“The legislators should stand with the people of Kenya and also stop the erosion of public trust in them through this grand impunity that they are trying to force on tax payers,” he added.
Mr Odinga urged MPs to refrain from returning the country to the pre-2010 Constitution days, pointing out that under the new Constitution, the task of determining salaries of public officers, including MPs, lies with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.
Last week, President Kenyatta publicly criticised the MPs’ push to enhance their perks at the expense of the taxpayer, but the parliamentarians have maintained that they will pass the Bill.
The proposed law, which comes for third reading this week, seeks to enhance MPs perks including house allowance, car loans, enhanced insurance cover, and a special kitty in each of the 290 constituencies for evaluation of national government projects.