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MPs delay bill on more perks after Uhuru says he won't sign

By DAVID MWERE
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The National Assembly has delayed the passage of Parliamentary Service Bill, 2018 that seeks to enhance the perks that members of parliament get, just a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta said he will not sign it.

The bill was supposed to have been passed by Thursday before the MPs’ long Christmas recess.

NEXT SESSION

However, it was not listed as part of the business that was to be transacted by the house.

The proposal will likely be considered in February 2019 when the next session begins.

At Ndumberi Stadium in Kiambu County on Wednesday, he noted that Kenyans are tired and angry with lawmakers who keep increasing their earnings at their expense.

The president promised not to approve the bill, which has attracted growing public condemnation, regardless of whether it will cost him the goodwill of the National Assembly.

“I have to say this, and I know many people will get angry with me … there are some things people (MPs) are trying to pass in the assembly (yet) what I have heard wananchi saying is that they are tired of this behaviour by MPs of always increasing their salaries,” he said.

“I am in support … even if you (MPs) hate me I will not retreat, and if you bring it (the bill) I will shoot it down (sic).”.

THE PROPOSALS

All 416 MPs, speakers of both houses and majority leaders in both chambers will each be provided with a rent-free house, a government vehicle, an expanded medical cover, travel allowances and an expanded constituency outreach operation, if the bill becomes law.

The legislators, however, are already among the best-paid in the world with a Sh1.2 million salary.

The bill is partly based on the recommendations of the National Assembly Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs.

The committee, chaired by Baringo North MP William Cheptumo, tabled the report in the National Assembly last Thursday.

Among its proposals is that all the 416 members and Speakers of the two Houses be given official residences or a “suitable house allowance.”