11 January 2013

Kenya PM Slams MPs' Treachery, Blackmail

Prime Minister Raila Odinga has condemned a move by Members of Parliament to award themselves a Sh9.3 million gratuity for 'serving' Kenyans in the last five years.

In a statement, Odinga described the move as "treachery, blackmail and an attempt to arm twist and even bribe the Executive for them to have their way."

"I have 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 I completely object to them," he stated.

The Bill passed secretly by MPs on Wednesday night also seeks a State funeral for each of them and armed security even in their retirement.

Odinga pointed out that the Bills will overshadow the significant achievements that the 10th Parliament and the Grand Coalition Government have been credited with.

"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," he stated.

The controversial law now awaiting presidential assent has touched off a storm amongst Kenyans and advocacy groups which are accusing the MPs of being greedy.

The PM said that he will consult the president to advise him to reject the law.

In addition to the Sh9.3 million perks, the legislators also want diplomatic passports for themselves and their spouses, plus unlimited access to VIP lounges in all airports within Kenya to reduce the 'hustles' they go through whenever they travel, even in their retirement.

Kenyan taxpayer will continue to pay for drivers to the current Grand Coalition Cabinet of 42 ministers and 55 assistants even after their retirement. And because they also serve as MPs it means that they will enjoy the perks that MPs approved.

Finance Minister Robin Githae proposed the inclusion of Members of Parliament in the Retirement Benefits (Deputy President, Speakers and Deputy Speakers of Parliament, Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice) Bill.

The president had refused to assent to a similar attempt when Parliament in October sneaked it into the Finance Bill, which forced MPs to rescind the amendment so they could garner a two-third majority in the House to overturn the presidential memorandum.

The amendment states that a retired Member of Parliament shall be entitled to a gratuity at a rate of thirty-one percent of the 200,000 basic salary for every year in service, until August 27, 2010 when the Constitution was promulgated.

The controversial Bill has now been sent to the president for approval.

The entire MPs as at now are entitled to a whopping Sh3.72 million send-off package.

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