MPs to sleep, wine and dine in five-star hotels when in the city ‘for legislative business

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Kenyan legislatures seem to have found a solution to their ‘problems’ after flying to the United Kingdom, India, New Zealand and Northern Ireland studying how the assembly takes care of legislators.

The members led by committee chairman Ezekiel Machogu Ombaki, flew Six MPs to the UK where each received Sh110,800 per day for five days to benchmark how to live large at the taxpayers expense.

Another six MPs flew to Northern Ireland for five days and pocketed Sh110,800 each per day as another four-member delegation went to India where each was paid Sh81,700 per day for nine days.

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And in June, six committee members went for another benchmarking trip to New Zealand where the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) has capped per diem at Sh97,400 per day. The MPs spent seven days in New Zealand.

From what they learnt, the lawmakers are now demanding an accommodation allowance that will allow them sleep, wine and dine in five-star hotels when in the city ‘for legislative business’.

Proposals for better terms for legislators — already among the best-paid in the world with a Sh1.2 million salary — are contained in the Parliamentary Service Bill that is set for debate in the National Assembly.

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).


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The Bill seeks to anchor the PSC in law as Parliament is the only remaining arm of government, after the Executive and the Judiciary, that is yet to legislate on its own commission.

MPs also want government cars, just like their 47 county woman representative colleagues, and car loans on top of the mileage allowance paid to members of the National Assembly only, and the Sh7 million car grant that they all receive.


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Although Kenyan MPs are ranked among the best paid in the world, they have complained that they are not treated well compared to Cabinet Secretaries and judges.

Therefore, the report recommends that they get enhanced medical cover that would include their extended families, as well as improved allowances for domestic and international travel.


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A gazette notice by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, which contains salary schemes for government employees, limits insurance cover for State and public officials to one spouse and four children below 25 years. The children must be enrolled in local schools.

The lawmakers’ medical scheme provides for Sh10 million inpatient cover per family, Sh300,000 for outpatient cover, Sh150,000 for maternity and Sh75,000 for dental care.


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The report further recommends that a budget be set aside for each of the 290 constituencies to have a public participation and monitoring office, separate from the National Government-Constituencies Development Fund (NG-CDF) that they control.

The public participation offices in the constituencies, manned by staff recruited on contractual basis, are aimed at enhancing civic education on parliamentary affairs at the grass roots level, the committee says.


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In the Senate, the committee is proposing a monitoring allowance for the 47 elected Senators. Senators have been pushing for a Sh2 billion annual budget to help them in their oversight functions on governors in the counties, but a lack of regulations to guide the implementation of the fund has denied them the billions.

On two occasions, their colleagues in the National Assembly have shot down regulation proposals meant to implement the fund.


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Among the projects they intend to run with the money are county expenditure reviews, research and survey studies on various thematic areas affecting counties, tracking and monitoring of development activities, and social auditing of development projects in the counties.

“Each House of Parliament shall prescribe in the standing orders the manner of undertaking public participation and the commission shall provide services and facilities necessary to actualise the objects of this section,” the report says.


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The net effect of this new clause is that it will result in an extra charge on the Consolidated Fund at a time the government is struggling to raise revenue to finance its key development projects.

The clause also risks running into headwinds with the law as it was not subjected to public participation as required by the Constitution.

Nevertheless, the committee argues that the clause will ensure that the PSC achieves its functions to ensure efficient and effective functioning of Parliament.


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Passage of the Bill would also give the PSC powers to outsource certain services and facilities “for the welfare of the members”.

MPs have complained of being served bad food in their three-star cafeteria within Parliament and suggestions to have this service improved or outsourced have been openly canvassed on the floor of the House.

Already, the National Assembly committee on Services and Facilities, chaired by Nyaribari Masaba MP Ezekiel Machogu, has tabled five benchmarking reports on how the welfare of the MPs can be improved to “enhance their performance”.


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The committee has, in the course of preparing its report, visited the US, the UK, Northern Ireland, New Zealand and India. Among the improvements it is asking for are bigger tea pots, a better bar, five-star chefs, and new bidets in the toilets.

If these suggestions are implemented fully, service in the legislative arm of government will be one of the most attractive in the country.

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