- TheMCAs receive a salary of Sh144,375 per month, which is significantly higher than what most Kenyans earn.
- On top of this, they also receive various allowances, including a mortgage, car loan, car maintenance, health cover and mileage allowances.
“Good leadership is about serving the people and not oneself,”
— Ben Carson.
The above saying seems to be foreign to those in elected positions. Time and again, elected leaders have failed to show leadership when most needed. They often forget their campaign promises and start to focus on their own personal gain.
Leadership, whether elected or appointed, is more than the title or position. It is about using that position to make a positive impact on society. Good leadership requires a selfless attitude that prioritises the needs of the people over personal gain. Unfortunately, this seems to be a lesson that some leaders have yet to learn.
The recent demand by MCAs for a salary increase is a classic example of selfish leadership that fails to consider the needs of the citizens. During their recent meeting in Nairobi, the ward reps gave a 14-day ultimatum to the government to increase their salaries with immediate effect or else they will down their tools and strike.
Other than salary increment, the MCAs also said that they want the government to establish the Ward Development Fund, as well as County Affirmative Action Fund for their nominated counterparts.
It is appalling that at a time when the country is facing numerous economic challenges, including high inflation and the burden of debt, MCAs are demanding for an increase in salary.
The demand is not only selfish, but also insensitive to the plight of Kenyan citizens who are struggling to make ends meet. It is an insult to the millions of Kenyans who are working hard every day to make a living.
MCAs are already some of the highest paid public servants in the country. They receive a salary of Sh144,375 per month, which is significantly higher than what most Kenyans earn. On top of this, they also receive various allowances, including a mortgage, car loan, car maintenance, health cover and mileage allowances.
These benefits are not enjoyed by the majority of Kenyan citizens who are struggling to make ends meet. The demand for an increase in salary, therefore, seems to be motivated by greed and a lack of empathy for the plight of ordinary citizens.
Furthermore, the threat by the ward reps to down their tools if their demands are not met is a display of arrogance. A few months after being elected, the threats by MCAs to not even pass the county budgets if their demands are not meant speaks volume on their detachment with the plights of voters.
Shutting down of the county services if the budgets are not passed will not affect the President, but the poor mwananchi who depends on these services.
MCAs are elected to represent the interests of their constituents and to work towards the development of their counties. Threatening to go on strike over a salary increase at a time when the country is facing numerous challenges is a dereliction of duty and a betrayal of the trust bestowed upon them by their constituents.
It is also important to note that the demand for a salary increase by MCAs is not only unjustified but also an attempt to hoodwink constitutional mandated agencies.
Article 230 of the Constitution provides that the salaries and allowances of state officers, including MCAs, should be set by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.
The SRC is an independent commission that is mandated to set and review the salaries and benefits of all state officers to ensure fairness and equity. Any attempt by ward reps to bypass this constitutional mandate while threatening the President undermines the integrity of the commission and the principles of good governance.
This also comes a time when the Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua admitted that the country is broke following the delays in the payment of some civil servants.
As leaders, MCAs should be focused on finding solutions to the numerous challenges facing the country, not adding to them. Good governance requires leaders who prioritise the needs of the people over personal gain. Therefore, it is important for MCAs to reconsider their demand for a salary increase and focus on serving the people who elected them.
Muthuri Kathure is the Senior Programme Officer (Civic Space) at Article 19 Eastern Africa.