12 January 2013

Kenya: Eyes On Kibaki After MPs Spark Outrage

Photo: Capital FM
Parliament (file photo).

All eyes are now on President Kibaki as Kenyans wait to see whether he will sign into law a bill seeking to award each MP a hefty Sh9.3 million "farewell token' and other lavish gifts.

Civil society groups, people on social media and callers to radio talk shows yesterday protested the proposed payments which they said were unjustified as the MPs did not deserve them. They urged President Kibaki not to give assent to the Presidential Retirement Benefits (Amendment) and the Retirement Benefits (Deputy President and Designated State Officers) Bill on the ground that they are unconstitutional.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga who said the recommendations contained in the Bills, "border on criminality" said he would consult with the President and advise him against assenting to the bills.

The lawmakers passed the two bills on Wednesday night, one granting a Sh25.2 million gratuity to the President and the second bill securing a Sh9.3 million sendoff package for each of the 222 MPs.

"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. They are unacceptable, unjustifiable and border on criminality," said Raila in a statement yesterday.

The Constitution Implementation Commission (CIC) said if he assented to the bills, President Kibaki will be in violation of the constitution which he has sworn to uphold.

The CIC deputy chair Elizabeth Muli said Parliament had usurped the authority of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.

She said the CIC will go to court to challenge the decision if Kibaki signs the bills into law.

The Kenya Human Rights Commission, the International Commission of Jurists-Kenya Chapter,the National Council of Human Rights Fefenders and the Kenya National Commission of Human Rights appealed to Kenyans to boycott work on Monday to protest the proposed payout.

They said there proposed payouts could be used to provide security in Tana Delta and assist the more than 40,000 people who have since been displaced by the hostilities which started last year.

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