Kenya: Ex-MPs' Hefty Pension Gets House Nod

Lawmakers Wednesday approved lavish lifestyles for their predecessors who served between 1984 and 2001 when they approved changes to the pension law.

The passage of the 2019 Parliamentary Pension (Amendment) Bill means the government will be required to pay at least Sh1.15 billion in lumpsum enhanced pension to the former MPs.

The amount is backdated to July 1, 2010, when the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) adopted recommendations of the Akiwumi Tribunal, which reviewed the terms and conditions of MPs and employees of Parliament.

Only part of that report was implemented.

If President Uhuru Kenyatta signs the bill into law, the National Treasury will be required to set aside at least Sh144 million every financial year to cater for the monthly pension of the 150 lawmakers who served during the time.

Each will be taking home what they are currently getting plus a monthly pension of around Sh80,000 minus tax, calculated at the rate of 15 per cent.

The amount is a significant improvement from Sh2,000 to Sh5,000 for MPs who served before the 2010 Constitution.

Those who served between 1963 and 1984 were not entitled to a pension scheme as there was no such law at the time.

National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi, who sponsored the bill, said the proposed law does not benefit current lawmakers.

"We are passing this bill for elderly former MPs. I wanted the former MPs to get something to sustain themselves," Mr Mbadi told the Nation yesterday.

The Akiwumi Tribunal was formed by the PSC in January 2009.

The tribunal extracted its findings from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and submitted its report on November 2, 2009.

One of its recommendations was that the 500 former MPs at the time be paid the equivalent of Sh100,000 as living pension from July 1, 2010.

The PSC adopted the report in June 2010 but also recommended an enhanced pension for the MPs who served between 1963 and 1983 so as to cater for all lawmakers.

However, the National Treasury opposed the bill on account that if signed into law, there would be pressure from former MPs earning higher pension to be considered for a similar increase.

"A former MP getting Sh101,415 would feel aggrieved that he or she served for a long time and is now getting the same amount as those who were in Parliament for one or two terms," Treasury PS Julius Muia said in an October 30, 2019, letter to National Assembly clerk Michael Sialai.

"The same will apply to current MPs once they retire."

Treasury is also worried that if signed into law, the bill will set a wrong precedent for other categories of public servants.

The Treasury wants an actuarial evaluation conducted to evaluate its opinion and that the report be referred to the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.

The law provides that an MP qualifies for pension if he or she has served for at least two terms and is above 45 years old.

Pension is a contributory scheme between the MP and the PSC and is governed by the Parliamentary Pensions Act.

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