Give all state officers house benefit, or none — Duale

Debate is raging and MPs' backdated award to themselves challenged in court

In Summary

• Says SRC cannot say certain state officers get house allowance, while others get none.

• SRC says lawmakers well paid in consolidated package that includes salary that includes salary and benefits; says only SRC determines pay.

National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale speaking in Bula Iften, Garissa town, on Monday.
BE CONSISTENT: National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale speaking in Bula Iften, Garissa town, on Monday.

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale said on Monday that either all state officers should get a house allowance, or none should get it.

Speaking in Garissa town, Duale asked why MPs are being discriminated against compared with other state officers whom he said were enjoying the same house benefits.

“The SRC cannot purport to say that certain offices held by state officers across all the three arms and levels of governments can enjoy house allowance benefits while others cannot," the Garissa Town MP said.

MPs recently awarded themselves a Sh250,000 monthly house allowance backdated to October last year. The country has 416 lawmakers.

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission immediately called the move by the MPs illegal and unconstitutional and challenged it in court.

The commission accuses lawmakers of disregarding constitutional provisions that give the SRC the sole mandate of setting salaries and allowances for state and public officers.

But Duale urged the commission to treat all state officers according to the Constitution and not to discriminate against MPs or any state officers.

“You cannot purport to discriminate against different cadres of state officers within the public service. Our position is very clear. We either have everybody getting a house allowance as a state officer or we decide that nobody will get the same. But we are not ready to be discriminated against,” he said.

Duale gave the example of the Speaker who is paid a house allowance and asked why other officers like the Majority and Minority leaders are not paid.

The SRC says Parliament misinterpreted the housing benefit extended to the President, Deputy President, Speakers of the National Assembly and Senate, the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice, governors, deputy governors and speakers of county assemblies.

According to the commission, lawmakers are well remunerated. It says the MPs’ remuneration comprises a consolidated salary as well as numerous benefits.