The moves by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) of Kenya to cut the salaries of the country’s MPs have been met with a strong resistance by some newly elected Kenyan MPs. The plan, which was tabled in June and supported by President Uhuru Kenyatta, would see a reduction of Kenya’s public sector wages by 35%. However, many newly elected MPs have rejected the plan and accused the SRC of “unfairly targeting MPs” and systematically reducing the MPs to “beggars” through the salaries cut.
“There is a sustained campaign by the 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.” Homa Bay Woman Representative-elect Gladys Wanga strongly criticised.
According to the SRC plan, the MPs’ basic monthly salaries will be cut from $6,900 to $6,000, while allowances will also be cut and the $48,000 car grant will disappear. Even though Kenyan MPs are amongst the highest paid in the world, some the country’s MPs have vowed to resist any attempt to reduce their salaries and benefits. On the other hand, many Kenyans have welcomed the salary cut, arguing that the huge payment does not reflect the quality of job the MPs offer to the public.
Strange enough, most of the MPs who vowed to fight the salary reduction are not comfortable speaking openly about their decision because they are very sensitive to the public reaction. That raises some interesting questions indeed.
Maybe the MPs should convince the public that they merit their huge salaries by first delivering a quality job they are elected to do. That may give the agitating MPs much stronger guts to challenge, and for that matter, defend any salary cut – without fear of public outrage.