Hate me, but I won’t sign bill on pay, Uhuru to MPs

Seth Onyango and Clement Kamau @PeopleDailyKe

A showdown is looming between MPs and the Executive after President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday vowed not to sign into law a bill seeking to increase legislators’ perks.

He said he knew MPs would be angered by his decision, but declared he would safeguard the interests of Kenyans.

Ona mwamena ni hanyu (even if you hate me, it is your problem),” he said, adding that the bill would burden the taxpayers.

Speaking at Ndumberi Stadium during his tour of Kiambu county to launch Raisi Mashinani, a mobile service delivery unity, the Head of State said he would block any attempt by the MPs to increases their perks.

Nitie sahihi kwa mswada huu au nisitie?” (Should I sign the bill or not?),” he asked the crowd, adding: “Wananchi wanasema wamechoka na wabunge kujiongezea mishahara na mimi nimesema mkileta nitaangusha (Kenyans are tired of MPs increasing their salaries and I am telling them if they bring the bill I will not assent to it)”.

The President reiterated his stand as he wound up his tour of his home county, saying MPs’ move was selfish and against public mood.

“As leaders, we should not be more concerned about how to bring more wealth to ourselves, but should instead prioritise the needs of our people. Every leader has a responsibility to uplift the lives of the millions of Kenyans who look up to us as their leaders and representatives,” he posted on his Twitter account.

His stand comes even as the  Parliamentary Service Commission Bill, 2018 is set for Third Reading in the National Assembly, with the majority of legislators vowing to ensure it sails through despite public condemnation.

MPs have vowed to mobilise two-thirds of members to pass it the second time should the Head of State decline to assent to it. If passed for the second time with a three-quarter vote, the bill will automatically become law.

The bill seeks to subjugate the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) in what will give lawmakers a free hand to bloat their perks. It seeks to delink Parliament from the purview of SRC and transfer its powers to regulate members allowances to the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC).

If it becomes law, MPs will have higher perks including house allowance, car loans, enhanced insurance cover, and a special kitty in each of the 290 constituencies for monitoring and evaluation of national government projects.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has also faulted MPs bid to increase their salaries, terming it unpatriotic.

MPs are expected to vote on the bill today.

Meanwhile, Uhuru said the government would start alcohol and drugs addiction rehabilitation centres in all counties. He lauded Kiambu Women’s Representative Gathoni wa Muchomba for starting such a facility in Kiambaa.

The President awarded certificates to 77 recovered addicts and challenged them to be ambassadors of the rehabs.

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