The Star (Nairobi)

11 January 2013

Kenya: PM Raila Condemns MPs' Pay Package

Prime Minister Raila Odinga has termed the move by Members of Parliament to grant themselves a "farewell token" after the end of their serving term as "greedy and callous".

MPs on Wednesday night awarded themselves a pay package that will see them receive Sh 6.3 million each. The MPs also want each of them to be assigned an armed security guard who shall be provided on request by the entitled person. They will be issued with diplomatic passports for themselves and their spouses and have unlimited access to VIP lounges in all the airports in the country. The MPs also approved a clause that will see each of them accorded a state funeral when they die.

Raila through a statement from his office says he has studied the Presidential Retirement Benefits (Amendment) Bill and the Retirement Benefits (Deputy President and Designated State Officers) Bill that were passed by Parliament a few days ago, and that he objects the proposals.

He said that, "the passage of these Bills amounts to treachery by Parliament. It is an attempt by MPs to blackmail, arm twist and even bribe the Executive in order to have their way."

The "farewell token" will cost taxpayers over Sh 2billion, an amount which the PM says the nation cannot afford. "In a nation struggling with hunger, insecurity, unemployment, wanting health services, rising cost of education and numerous other shortcomings, I find no words to explain and justify the proposed packages to our suffering citizens." the PM said.

He added that, "These Bills will overshadow the significant achievements that the Tenth Parliament and the Grand Coalition Government have been credited with." He termed MPs' move as, "unacceptable, unjustifiable and border on criminality." He said he will consult the President on the matter.

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