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GIVE US A BREAK, WE WORK HARD

Servant leaders 'need' more perks to serve

MPs propose Sh250,000 house allowance per month, 18,000-24,000 allowance per night

In Summary

• Two Coast legislators say MPs would earn more if they worked in the private sector. 

• They say MPs' work is unlimited and they deserve more compensation but critics don't understand.

 

Mombasa Senator Mohamed Faki and Changamwe MP Omar Mwinyi at Bomu Primary School on Sunday.
CRITICS DON'T UNDERSTAND: Mombasa Senator Mohamed Faki and Changamwe MP Omar Mwinyi at Bomu Primary School on Sunday.
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

Now more lawmakers are getting into the act, scrambling for more benefits and saying they're not greedy, just misunderstood.

MPs and Senators already have created public outrage after calling for house allowances and night working allowances.

Two MPs from Mombasa county on Sunday defended their calls for more benefits, saying they do more work than required by their job description.

Changamwe MP Omar Mwinyi and Mombasa Senator Mohamed Faki also said on Sunday that they do not determine their salaries and allowances and should not be vilified for seeking compensation commensurate with their dedication.

They said the Parliamentary Service Commission and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission are responsible for that.

The two said their work goes beyond their job descriptions, adding that critics do not understand their work at the grassroots but the residents do.

“They (residents) will never oppose anything that we get because we share it with them,” Mwinyi said.

They spoke during a funeral funds drive for Hannington Nyaminde, who was a member of the Changamwe NGCDF committee.

Kenyans are already infuriated by a scheme by MPs to increase their pay through amendments to the Parliamentary Service Bill.

The amendments give them a blank cheque to demand and get hefty allowances.

The residents will never oppose anything that we get because we share it with them. 
Changamwe MP Omar Mwinyi

In the proposals passed last Wednesday, the MPs are demanding a Sh250,000 monthly house allowance each and a further night allowance of  Sh18,200 to Sh24,000 for the nights they spend in Nairobi for their parliamentary sessions.

The night allowances amount to Sh96,000 a week and Sh384,000 a month.

Many have homes in Nairobi but would still collect for staying in hotels.

Parliament has 416 MPs in both the National Assembly and the Senate.

On Sunday, the two Coast MPs said their work is unlimited and deserves a generous compensation.

“If you ask me about my work as an MP, I will tell you I don’t know because when I wake up in the morning, there are people at my doorstep. When I go to the mosque they are there,” Mwinyi said.

He said they share the salaries they earn with the people they represent.

“There are people who are not in politics and don't understand this. Give us a break. This is too much. Let them get into politics so they also get as much they think we get."

Senator Faki said the allowance issue is not something Kenyans should focus on. He said people only focus on leaders' salaries but ignore their work.

He said their jobs involve oversight, legislation and representation.

“But beyond that, we have another 101 jobs. Leaders are expected to stand with the people in good and in bad times,” Faki said.

He said the MPs' perks are lower than in the private sector.

It is their interest in serving the people that has propelled them to be servants of the people, the senator said, adding that sometimes the work does not pay.

“Those saying MPs are increasing their allowances should realise that we don’t increase our salaries because we are employed by the PSC,” Faki said.

(Edited by R. Wamochie)