A push by some newly elected Kenyan MPs to reject a proposal to cut their salaries is likely to put the legislators on a collision path with President Uhuru Kenyatta, the Daily Nation reports.
Homa Bay Woman Representative-elect Gladys Wanga has accused the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) of unfairly targeting MPs.
“There is a sustained campaign by SRC to reduce MPs to beggars and people who move from one office to another asking for handouts and this will not happen under our watch,” Ms Wanga said.
In June, the SRC said the cut was part of a plan to reduce Kenya’s public sector wages by 35%. President Kenyatta has publicly backed the proposal.
The Daily Nation says the plan is to cut MPs’ basic monthly salaries from $6,900 (£5,385) to $6,000 (£4,683). But allowances will also be cut and the $48,000 (£37,460) car grant has gone.
The newspaper says MPs who wished to remain anonymous fearing public outrage said they would “do all they can” to reject the proposal.
The push for higher salaries has sparked outrage on social media, with hashtag #MPsPay trending in Kenya:
Some new MPs have distanced themselves from the campaign after President Uhuru Kenyatta vowed he will not sign any Bill passed by MPs raising their salaries if the Supreme Court rules in his favour.
The annual bill for paying 700,000 public employees, including elected leaders, stands at 627 billion shillings, which is equal to half of the government’s revenue.
The SRC wants to take away a 5 million shillings car grant given to each lawmaker, strip them of various allowances, and reduce their monthly pay, Wanga said.
“It is like a punishment they are meting on members of parliament to be honest. They are turning them into beggars,” she said.
The proposals to reduce salaries are popular with many ordinary people who think officials live large at the expense of taxpayers.
Kenyan lawmakers are some of the best paid in the world, earning in excess of the equivalent of $10,000 every month in pay and various allowances.