The rage against the Kenya’s legislators’ quest for higher salaries and perks went a notch higher on Sunday after the Church in Migori County called for their immediate resignation.
Led by Bishop Daniel Kihengu of African Church of the Holy Spirit, the men of the robe termed the demands by the MPs and Senators in the last one week a recipe to derail the country’s fragile economy.
“Besides being an abuse to the tax payers, such a demand for huge salary pay goes against their previous promises to help boost development of the country,” noted Bishop Kihengu.
Parliament is currently debating a Bill that seeks to raise the legislators’ salaries and perks, a move that has received great compliment from their colleagues in the Senate who also stand to benefit if it sails through.
However, speaking at a Christian forum in Migori town at the weekend, a host of Church leaders from various denominations criticised members of the two houses, accusing them of being greedy, selfish and a big shame to the country.
The leaders expressed shock that the legislators were still keen to raid the country’s frail coffers to satisfy their selfish egos even after President Kenyatta tried to dissuade them from pursuing that dangerous route.
“The MPs and senators should have thought it out first before uttering words that call fora raise in their perks at the expense of other Kenyans,” rued Bishop Nicolas Odhiambo of Mariwa Maranatha Church.
He said that the unreasonable demands by the legislators could heighten calls for increased salaries and allowances from teachers, civil servants, parastatal employees and university dons apparently as has happened in the past.
Several county governments are currently facing looming strikes from nurses and other medical personnel who want better remuneration amid complaints of unmanageable wage bill due to the big number of employees in such entities.
Bishop Kihengu who is also the Vice Chairman of the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), Kuria branch, regretted that a person of an MP caliber could engage in a salary debate that amounts to incitement to other groups of government workers.
“The legislators should be the last group to go public demanding for higher salaries and allowances at this time when the government is grappling with a huge wage bill problem,” he said.
The leaders pleaded with the government, through the salary and remuneration commission to take the painful route of reducing the many allowances paid to government and state officials to help fix the problem of the huge wage bill.
“There is no reason at all for the MPs, Senators and MCAs to earn sitting allowances when they attend their committees deliberations since they are paid salaries for the same duties,” said Pastor Maurice Otieno of Midoti SDA Church.
He asked the government to seriously focus on narrowing the gap between the highest and lowest earners in the civil service, saying the current disparity augurs badly for service delivery.
At the same time, the leaders called on the state to reign on run-away corruption and financial wastages within its Ministries, departments and agencies to help protect public funds.
“We want policy makers in the government to come up with good policies that can amicably cut wastages of government resources,” suggested Pastor Otieno.
By George Agimba