GREEDY MPIGS

Uhuru should reject MPs' pension demands

They wouldn't even take a pay cut and now they want more.

In Summary
  • Many Kenyans have lost their jobs or have had to take pay cuts as firms seek to remain afloat.
  • The two speakers of Parliament took a pay cut, MPs did not volunteer to do it, even on a temporary basis

Once upon a time, a heavy wagon was being dragged along a country lane by a team of oxen. The axle-trees groaned and creaked terribly; whereupon the oxen, turning round, thus addressed the wheels,“Hallo there! Why do you make so much noise? We bear all the labour, and we, not you, ought to cry out.”

Kenya is going through a rough time and like the oxen, Kenyans are crying out but not as loudly as those who should not. Kenyan leaders have this undying desire of complaining and seeking to get more than they deserve.

While taxpayers remain burdened so they can receive the services they deserve, we have a group of politicians who think that Kenyans work for them only. So many times, we have been told that our MPs are among the highest paid in the world but they still have time to go into our slim coffers and take some more.

Like the axle-trees, they are the loudest when it comes to their welfare and this is especially unbelievable at a time when the country is fighting a pandemic. When they should be thinking about the welfare of health workers and millions of Kenyans who have lost their jobs in the last five months, they are thinking of their former colleagues’ welfare and their own future.

Despite caution from the Treasury and its own Budget Office, MPs still went ahead and passed the amendments not caring about the future of Kenya or even the current financial constraints affecting the country.

Last week, parliamentarians amended the Parliamentary Pensions Act that will increase the pension of MPs who served between 1984 and 2001. The amendment means that the more than 350 former MPs will have their pension increased from Sh33,000 to Sh100,000.

It also means they will get a lump sum of between Sh6 million and Sh12 million. Besides the almost Sh2 billion to be used as lump sum, the cost of sustaining the former MPs will rise from Sh15 million per month to Sh180 million, if the President signs the Bill into law.

MPs need to read the writing on the wall, with this move, some of them will have written their political obituary. Kenyans will never forget those who never stood with them during this pandemic.

And this is why we must appeal the President to reject the amendments and veto this law by sending it back to Parliament with those clauses deleted. Allowing this law to come into effect will see MPs get the leeway to make more amendments for their own benefit.

Kenyans are suffering during the coronavirus crisis, struggling to put food on the table and money in their pockets. It is insensitive and irresponsible for MPs to push through the kind of amendments they passed last week.

This is not the time to discuss an increase in payments to anyone. This is the time to think about how to cushion Kenyans from the adverse effects of the pandemic.

So many Kenyans are suffering as they have lost their jobs or have had to take pay cuts as many companies seek to remain afloat. Unfortunately, despite the two speakers of Parliament having taken a pay cut, MPs did not volunteer to do it, even on a temporary basis.

This is why the recent amendments are drawing anger from Kenyans, as they are not seeing what MPs have done to cushion the public. All we are seeing are people thinking they can cry more than those who are doing all the work and paying taxes through their nose.

Parliament should have read the mood of the country and see that this was a very misadvised move to take. If the Bill was about health workers welfare, Kenyans could not even raise a finger about it.

MPs need to read the writing on the wall, with this move, some of them will have written their political obituary. Kenyans will never forget those who never stood with them during this pandemic.

The President should reject in totality the recommendations to increase pensions. The former MPs should be satisfied with what they are receiving now, as the country cannot afford more for them.