Members of Parliament are demanding an accommodation allowance that will allow them sleep, wine and dine in five-star hotels when in the city ‘for legislative business’.
Although the figure for the new allowance was not immediately available, in justifying their demands, the committee benchmarked in New Zealand, where lawmakers are paid up to Sh400,000 every time they are in town, suggesting the kind of perks they are eyeing.
The lawmakers, besides having a mortgage for a city home, enjoy several other benefits that ordinary Kenyans can only dream of.
Still, they want more money, which they claim was approved last year but was being held by the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC).
By demanding an accommodation allowance despite being entitled to a low interest mortgage facility, the MPs are essentially seeking double payment for housing.
The push for the new allowance could be a disguised attempt to lessen their burden on servicing the mortgage, which must be repaid by the end of their term.
Since Parliament sits for three days a week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday), with some committee meetings scheduled for Mondays — some members sit in two committees — it means that lawmakers will literally be living in hotels.
The cost implications of the new allowance would be enormous considering there are 416 MPs — National Assembly (349) and the Senate (67).
Other privileges they enjoy is a generous medical cover, tax-free pension and a host of other allowances that allow them to carry home more than Sh1 million every month.
Should the MPs win on the demand for accommodation allowance, they will save on the cost of repaying a mortgage, but at the expense of taxpayers, who will have to shoulder all hotel related expenses for the lawmakers.