1 June 2013

Kenya: Independent Commissions Firm Despite MPs Threat

Nairobi — Constitutional Commissions on Friday told off Members of Parliament on the threat to cut down their budgets, saying they are protected under the constitution.

Commission on Administrative Justice Chairman Otiende Amollo who spoke on behalf of the independent commissions said MPs must respect the independence of the Commissions and desist from attacking them unfairly.

"It is important to note that there are constitutional safeguards that not only protect Commissioners and constitutional Commissions, but also protect their budgetary lines. And we urge decorum in language," he said.

Salaries and Remuneration Commission Chairperson Sarah Serem who has been criticized for slashing the MPs salary revealed that her team had not yet met the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) to discuss the move taken by legislators to de-gazette a notice slashing their pay.

Serem maintained that her Commission's doors were open to any state officer aggrieved by the decision taken to reduce their pay.

"I believe that the process of us coming to meet is in place and we are still waiting as SRC for that dialogue. What we need to confirm is that we are truly open and we have had discussion with many other bodies," she explained.

Civil societies who have time and again accused MPs of greed have embarked on a spirited fight to have the legislators recalled.

One of the civil societies has already started collecting one million signatures from Kenyans aimed at introducing amendments to the constitution.

The group led by blogger Dennis Itumbi and activist Boniface Mwangi, who led a demonstration involving pigs outside parliament three weeks ago, want the constitutional clause on recalling MPs amended to override any setbacks that the Elections Act creates for Kenyans who would like to recall their lawmakers.

But even as this happens, the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution Chairman Charles Nyachae cautioned Kenyans against plans to recall MPs over the issue.

"I don't personally think that recalling MPs at this stage, in this particular context is necessarily where we are at," he said.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chairperson Issack Hassan, the Acting Chairperson of the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission Irene Keino, the Chairperson of the Commission on Revenue Allocation Micah Cheserem and the Acting Chairperson of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights were also present.

Others were the National Police Service Commission Chairman Johnstone Kavuludi, Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo, Auditor General Edward Ouko, Gender and Equality Commission Chairperson Winnie Lichuma and the National Land Commission Vice Chairperson Abigael Mbagaya.

Others present were the Independent Police Oversight Authority Chairman Macharia Njeru and a representative from the Teachers Service Commission.

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