4 January 2013

Kenya: MPs Acting in Futility On Retirement Packages - CIC

Nairobi — The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) has cautioned that Parliament would be overstepping its mandate if it passes two Bills awarding the president and other State officers hefty send-off packages.

CIC Chairman Charles Nyachae told Capital FM News on Thursday that the laws were illegal because Parliament was usurping the role of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).

Nyachae maintained that the SRC was the only institution that had the mandate of recommending such packages owing to the fact that it had been established to determine the pay perks of State officers.

The Presidential Retirement Benefits (Amendment) Bill and the Retirement Benefits Bill were tabled by Finance Minister Njeru Githae and they have already sailed through the committee stage of debate in Parliament.

"The Constitution is very clear- that the terms for all State officers including the president and all those mentioned in those Bills should be set by the Salaries Commission not Parliament," he said.

Nyachae also argued that the legislators were wasting time in crafting the laws saying they should focus their energies on pushing for the passage of the crucial finance bills, required for the new devolution structures.

"Even if the bills go through they will be of no constitutional validity so it would be better for Parliament to spend the limited time it has to address the bills which should be finalised before the elections," he argued.

MPs want to pass the County Revenue Bill and the Division of Revenue Bill before their terms expire on January 14. They also want to pass the Supplementary Budget which will see Counties get a budgetary allocation in the current financial year.

The legislators have been accusing Treasury of frustrating the processes. They on Thursday morning refused to pass the Supplementary Budget and pushed for its deferment demanding that Finance Minister Njeru Githae tables the County Revenue Bill and the Division of Revenue Bill as well.

"There seems to have been some delays in the Executive processing these Bills but Parliament is also spending the limited time left on what might not be absolutely necessary for it to pass," argued Nyachae.

The CIC also urged the government to upscale its civic education programme to ensure Kenyans understood what the new governance structures were all about, given that they would come into force in two months time.

He argued that Kenyans barely knew what the devolution system was all about even though the legal framework was already in place.

"In terms of information and awareness I think it's fair to say that we are not quite where we want to be. I think there is a lot that needs to be done so that Kenyans know where their place in the new dispensation is," he stated.

Nyachae lauded the voter education exercise being carried out by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

"It is very important that the whole process of elections is completely transparent and informative to the people and that is squarely the responsibility of the IEBC. They are doing a good job," he said.

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