All eyes are now on President Uhuru Kenyatta to see what course of action he takes after Members of Parliament on Wednesday passed a bill seeking to grant former MPs’ Ksh100,000 monthly pension for life following cases of former legislators becoming bankrupt and falling into depression.
This means that former Members of Parliament (MPs) who served between 1984 and 2001 will get the monthly stipend if President Uhuru Kenyatta ascents to the amendments made to the Parliamentary Pensions Act.
The amendments proposed by Minority Leader John Mbadi seek to cushion former MPs who he says have been earning “peanuts” as pension.
While addressing the house on Wednesday regarding the amendment, Mbadi defended the move stating that the additional expense “will not be a huge burden to the taxpayer” since a clause that required the payments to be backdated to 2010 had already been expunged.
The Parliamentary Pensions Act, which was passed back in 2002, states that only MPs who serve for two terms or more are entitled to a Ksh125, 000 monthly pension for the rest of their lives.
MPs who had served for one term are refunded the equivalent of three times their monthly pension deductions plus 15% interest for every year served. The law does not cover legislators who retired before 2002.
At least 290 MPs are set to benefit from the amendment. About 130 of them are already deceased, their dependants are entitled to about half of the monthly payment.
“When you look at some of these MPs, when you see their shoes you feel sympathy for them, we must support this bill, any of us could be former MP anytime,” said Minority Whip Junet Mohammed.
Garissa Township MP and Former Majority Leader Aden Duale however expressed his reservations about the bill and cautioned his colleagues over possible backlash from the public going by the instances where MPs attempted to increase their own salaries.
Duale also observed that the move might cause a ripple reaction where all other civil servants will also demand similar pension.