President Uhuru Kenyatta has rejected Parliamentary Service Bill 2019 which sought to increase members of parliament domestic and foreign travel allowances.
The National Assembly received memorandum in which the president had noted his stand on the bill that was passed on July 4, 2019.
According to the memo, the president noted that increasing the MPs’ travel allowances would be a violation of the constitution as the proposed bill lacked the input of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and he recommended that the clause be deleted.
For the MPs to be able to overturn the president’s decision, they would have to marshal at least two-thirds majority or 233 of the 349 members in the National Assembly.
While clause 20(2) of the rejected bill provided that PSC shall regularly review the MPs domestic and foreign allowances the president maintains that Salaries and Remuneration Commission’s input must be put to consideration.
The president also dismissed a proposal that would see the Parliamentary Service have the powers to remunerate parliamentary employees every three years.
In the president’s memo, he says that clause 43(1) of the proposed bill also failed to take into account the advisory role of the SRC.
The president’s rejection of the MPs proposal and his insistence that the PSC include SRC’s advisory role is a boost for the commission’s confidence and powers in executing its role.
MPs have for a long time been pushing for more allowances in the past, which has always caused a row between the members of the National Assembly and the commission, one of which is already in court to challenge the PSC’s push to award MPs 250,000 shillings monthly housing allowance.
MPs, among other allowances, also wanted 18,000 shillings night allowances which they said would cater for their accommodation when they attend parliamentary businesses away from their constituencies.
They argue that just like the President, his deputy, and governors, they are also state officers who are entitled to allowances.