Reports that the nine commissioners of the Commission of Implementation of the Constitution have not been paid seven months later is intriguing and farcical at the same time.
For those who caught the news or read the papers, you must have been as amused as I was watching Dr Alfred Mutua, the Government Spokesman, try valiantly to explain how unfair it is for these nine individuals to expect to be paid 'millions' of shillings.
He basically questioned what kind of people the nine commissioners were, that they would expect to earn such amounts of money, in a country going through as trying times as Kenya is living in today (incidentally, how much does the Government Spokesman earn, all inclusive?).
Why I found this amusing is that the country he is describing as going through 'harsh economic times' actually has nearly 100 ministers and assistant Ministers who each earn: salaries, allowances, per diems, etc included, a lot more money than these nine individuals. Lets not go into how much we pay the other 120+ politicians ... all we know is that the official income is nearly as much as these nine folks are asking for.
Lets also look at how these 9 folks were employed: they went through a vetting process by Parliament, and were contracted on terms and conditions that were negotiated and accepted seven months ago.
At the point of their taking up the jobs they were offered these 'millions' that Dr Mutua mentions, and everyone, except the head of Cabinet that is, was okay with these terms.
Incidentally the CIC terms were negotiated and agreed upon despite the existence of the other commissions that Dr Mutua now wishes to use as the reason why they the nine CIC commissioners should take less money that what they agreed on.
On the basis of that agreement with government, each of these extremely qualified people left their full-time jobs, took a pay-cut (yes Dr Mutua, each of them was making more than the 'millions' you are talking about), and came to help Kenya implement the constitution. However, Dr Mutua would like us to accept that government did not know then what they know now ... or has the government just decided to renege on that agreement!
What is the most interesting aspect of this is that Dr Mutua does not accept that this Commission is THE Commission Kenyans are looking for to implement THEIR Constitution. He refuses to acknowledge that this Commission is like no other, at least for the next five years. He also does not want us to compare the work this Commissioners have done, continue to do, and expect to keep doing: with what the nearly 100-Pax Cabinet is doing.
My proposal to Dr Mutua ... Why don't we get rid of nine assistant Ministers: or four Ministers and five assistant ministers and use those resources to pay these nine Commissioners? In fact, we could even suggest, as Kenyan Citizens, which Ministers and/or Assistant Ministers we could ask to give up their seats for this VERY important Commission. (I think Kenyans agree we need the CIC a lot more, than we need some of the Cabinet units.)
Worst case scenario ... do we have to wait for Civil Society to demonstrate about this as well? (Incidentally if Civil Society decides to go to the street on this one ... we will ALL come to the street. KPTJ, Bunge, etc ... Mpo?)
Ngunjiri Wambugu comments on topical issues