Even before the dust settles on the Public Service Commission breaking the law and awarding the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution hefty salaries, Kenyan MPs are about to do the same and raise their salaries in order to meet new tax requirements.
The same MPs passed the Salaries and Remuneration Commission Bill that is to set up the body that will set and regulate the salaries of State officers. But the same MPs are now using a report that has been overtaken by events to push for another irregularity just like the PSC did.
Someone asked me to explain how the PSC and eventually the government broke the law when setting the CIC salaries. It is just a simple case of sidestepping one law in trying to fulfill the provisions of another.
It is true that the CIC Act in Section 17(1) provides that the Commissioners’ salaries and allowances be determined by the PSC in consultation with the Treasury pending the establishment of remuneration commission.
PSC and Treasury needed to fall the set out guidelines under the Constitutional Offices Remuneration Act. And so they did and the PSC placed the CIC commissioners under Band A1 borrowed flauting the very law. In 2008, the government through a gazette notice published the salary structures of Constitutional office holders.
Band A1, according to the Act, is for persons in the level of Attorney-General and Chief Justice where the starting salary is Sh399,440 per month with an annual increment of 10 per cent with a ceiling of Sh916,500. Chairpersons of commissions fall under Band A2 where the starting salary is Sh292,765 with the maximum being Sh576,120 while members fall under Band A3 which attracts Sh232,960 to a maximum of Sh481,318.
The CIC chairman is to get Sh1.3 million monthly which includes a basic salary of Sh849,360, his deputy is to get 1.17 while the other seven commissioners will receive Sh1.14 each per month, backdated for seven months. Members of Commissions that have existed since 2008 when the salary structures were published are earning slaries ranging from between Sh600,000 and Sh800,000.
At the Interim Independent Electoral Commission, the chairman earns Sh600,000 without allowances while the members get Sh400,000. The total package of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission is Sh800,000 while at the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, the chairman earns Sh700,000 and members get Sh550,000.
I believe, just like Muthaura, in determining the level of pay, the Government will always be guided by the prevailing economic circumstances in the country even is the role of the said officers is perceived to be as crucial as implementing the Constitution.
Back to MPs. Kenyan parliamentarians have a history of rewarding themselves whenever they feel like it and are reportedly about to do so – a move that has angered most Kenyans. Other than this, the MPs want to ensure that their future is secured through taxpayers money by awarding themselves a retirement package of Sh90,000 per month after they leave parliament.
Increasing their salaries is what always seems to unite the MPs across the divide – a trend that has to be stopped sooner than later. This thus calls for the fastracking of the formation of the remuneration commission which is to review and set the salaries of State Officers.
But the setting of the salaries is a tricky job even for an independent commission such as the proposed S&RC. This is because the Commission must ensure that the salaries are financially sustainable, are able to attract persons with the necessary skills to enable those bodies to carry out their functions.
All in all, we need the Salaries and Remuneration Commission in place soonest.