11 January 2013

Kenya: President Urged to Stop Outright Theft By MPs

Nairobi — Human rights organisations are now calling on President Mwai Kibaki to reject a fresh bid by MPs to award themselves a Sh9.3 million retirement gratuity each.

Speaking during a press conference on Friday, the lobbyists pointed out that there are more urgent matters to be dealt with like the Tana Delta crisis.

The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) Executive director Atsango Chesoni described the move by legislators as atrocious since it infringes on the rights of Kenyan taxpayers.

"We the human rights bodies in Kenya are deeply saddened that at the time of the deaths of our brothers and sisters in the Tana Delta, Baragoi, Mathare and various other places in our country, parliamentarians can only think of how to enrich themselves," she said.

"At a time that they should be concerned about the security of Kenyans, MPs are once again planning how they can raid the Treasury," she said.

She stated that MPs should be more concerned about the security of Kenyans and that they will take to the streets in protest.

"We call on all Kenyans to say no to this robbery of the country by MPs. We say no to State funerals, no to exorbitant send-offs, no to diplomatic passports, no to greed and ransacking of the Kenyan people," she said.

"We demand that the country's resources be directed at addressing the critical security situation and ensuring peace for our country's women, children and men in the Tana Delta, Baragoi and Mathare."

Her sentiments were echoed by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) Chief Executive Officer Apollo Mboya who said that all necessary action will be taken to ensure the law is not assented to.

"The president will be opening himself to impeachment and I do not think he would like to soil his legacy in this short period that he has. We are ready. If he signs it into law, the council of the Law Society of Kenya has decided that they will challenge such an action in a court of law," Mboya said.

Earlier, Prime Minister Raila Odinga described the move as "treachery, blackmail and an attempt to arm twist and even bribe the Executive for them to have their way."

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

Odinga pointed out that the Bill overshadows the significant achievements that the 10th Parliament and the Grand Coalition Government have made.

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

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.

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