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Lawmakers commended for approving Administrative Allowance Bill

Busia Women Representative Catherine Omanyo has lauded the parliament for approving the bill that will see village elders get a stipend of Sh7,000 in administrative allowance to caution them in their daily operations.

Omanyo said the village elders have been forgotten for times since independence, yet they supplement the work of the chief and their assistants in advocating for peace, security, and conflict resolution.

“I thank the MPs for approving the bill that supports village elders getting allowance since they play a vital role in the village administration. The elders have been at the forefront in the fight against insecurity and alcohol, and it was prudent for the government to recognise them in line with the bottom-up approach,” said Omanyo.

The legislator added that without the work of village elders, Kenyan courts would have been overwhelmed with cases of petty offenses that could be handled by arbitration and mediation.

“Elders risk their lives by arresting petty offenders, solving family disputes, and sorting out land boundary issues, yet they lack even personal protection measures,” she added.

Omanyo launched the initiative for village elders’ identification by issuing tan-coloured suits and asking the government to issue the elders with uniforms for easy identification by members of the public while executing their mandate.

Omanyo was speaking when she met over 100 village elders from Teso North and Teso South sub-counties, urging them to form social welfare groups to benefit from government grants.

“I want to challenge you to form socio-empowerment groups that will attract grants and support from well-wishers,” Omanyo advised.

Her sentiments were welcomed by village elders led by Grace Idewa village elder Kasogol, who said the allowance will propel them to offer services all-heartedly.

“For many years, we have voluntarily been playing a key role in the administrative and development agenda of the government. We are happy that, at last, we have been heard,” said Idewa.

The National Government Coordination (Amendment) Bill 2022 proposes a monthly allowance of either Sh2,000 or Sh12,455 to the village elders who are at the bottom of the administration pyramid.

There are about 9,045 sub-locations in Kenya, each assumed to have eight villages totaling 72,360 village elders.

Omanyo proposes that the government should give priority to village elders’ current work, and should there be another opening, the selection should be based on the familiarity of the community members, depending on their length of time living in the community, their knowledge of the area, their integrity, and their literacy.

If operationalized, Mutuse’s bill proposal will cost taxpayers about Sh4.6 billion in the first year.

By Absalom Namwalo

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