Former MPs push for more money

Former MPs push for more money
DAVID MWERE

By DAVID MWERE
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STEPHEN OKETCH

By STEPHEN OKETCH
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Former lawmakers now want to be paid at least Sh100,000 monthly pension.

They argue many of them have died miserable deaths because of poverty after serving the country.

The former MPs, while appearing before the National Assembly Committee on Finance and National Planning on the Parliamentary Pensions (Amendment) Bill 2019, also pushed to have those who served for one term be included in the pension category.

The bill is sponsored by leader of minority in the National Assembly John Mbadi (Suba South) and seeks to raise the amount of pension due to former MPs who served between July 1, 1984, and January 1, 2001, to a minimum of Sh100,000.

Former Alego Usonga MP Otieno Mak’Onyango, the secretary of the Former Parliamentarians Association of Kenya (FOPAK), urged parliament to take the necessary steps to address the deplorable living standards of the former legislators.

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“Being an MP is one of the most privileged positions under the sun. Currently, a former MP is completely different from a retired judge among others,” said Mr Mak’Onyango.

Mr Mak’Onyango, who served between 1993 and 1997 added; “The salary you earn is not yours but people’s. You get out of parliament worse than when you went in, it’s frustrating.”

Among the former MPs who appeared before the committee chaired by Kipkelion East MP Joseph Limo include former Finance Assistant Minister in retired President Daniel Moi’s government and then Marakwet East MP John Marimoi (1997-2002) and Joseph Lotodo (Baringo East- 1992 to 2002).

The others are Saulo Busolo (Webuye- 1995 to 1997), Aloo Ogeka (Muhoroni- 1992 to 1997), Francis Mutuol (Marakwet West 1973-1983 and 1988-1992) and Immanuel Imana (Turkana Central).

Interestingly, despite serving for two terms, Mr Mutuol says he has never received any pension.

“There is a lot of suffering by the former members,” Mr Lotodo said with Mr Ogeka adding; “change the law while you are still there and know that you will at some point be a former MP.”

The law as it is provides that an MP qualifies for a pension if the member has served for at least two terms and is above 45 years old.

Pension is a contributory venture between the MP and the employer- the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC).

Each MP is required to contribute Sh43,610 per month rising to about Sh45,000, based on the salary of an MP that increases annually, while the government through PSC contributes double the amount for those who have served two terms.

A member who has served two terms is liable to a lump-sum of Sh7 million before tax of 30 percent and a monthly pension of Sh118,000.

Those who serve for a term are refunded their contribution plus the 60 percent worth of government contribution, which is about ShSh5.2 million before 1.1 percent.

Those who served before 2010 get a pension of between Sh2,000 and Sh8,000. Those who served between 1963 and 1984 were never entitled to any pension scheme as there was no such law at the time.

“This bill is in light of the fact that despite serving the nation, some former MPs are languishing in poverty and there is need to take care of their welfare,” Mr Mbadi said.

Mr Mbadi’s proposals are in line with the recommendations of the Akiwumi tribunal, which was appointed in January 2009 by the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) to review the terms and conditions of service of the MPs and employees of parliament.

The tribunal, which extracted its findings from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), submitted its report on November 2, 2009, in which one of its recommendations was that the 500 former MPs, whose number is currently 370, be paid the equivalent of Sh100,000 as living pension from July 1, 2010.

The PSC adopted the report in June 2010 but recommended an enhanced pension for the MPs who served between 1963- 1983.

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