Many keep wondering why Kenyan Politicians canvass for votes every now and then just to remain in their seats of power. Some think they do all that to come up with strategies and ideas that will make Kenya greater than it is used to be, but some others beg to differ. Whatever the case, clearly, they do have reasons for their relentless campaigns which might be outside the interest of the country. The huge salaries they earn of course could make anyone even more desperate than these Politicians when canvassing for votes. Unbelievably, Kenya is one of the four African countries that pays such outrageous salary to their Politicians. Read on to see how much our Politicians take home monthly/annually.
According to a study carried out by UK-based Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the basic salary of Kenyan MPs without including allowances is 76 times Kenya’s GDP per capita of Sh84,624. Kenyan Politicians take home Shs 6.39 million per year, still Kenya’s per capita income is a lot lower than that of the rich countries that have significant higher GDP per capita income than Kenya ($808) which the Kenyan MPs salary are roughly comparable to.
Though there was 40% slash which resulted in a significant reduction from $120,000 to $75,000 making it 6.39 million Kenyan Shillings per year. Nonetheless, the Kenyan lawmakers and Members of National Assembly and Senators take home 54 percent lower than their Nigerian Counterparts who take home almost Shs 16.5 million ($189,500) as their basic salary. What is more worrying is that according to reports, out of the five countries which have the highest paid MPs, four are African countries, with the top five from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Indonesia and South Africa. Now I ask, is this what Africa needs now when almost all the countries in Africa are yet to be developed?
More surprisingly, the minimum wage for skilled laborers such as gardeners, messengers and watchmen is Shs 8,579 per month. While British MPs earn Shs 9.1 million and their American counterparts take home Shs 15.1 million in basic salary annually; which is 2.7 and 3.7 times of their various GDP per person.
In spite of the creation of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) authorized to set and review the pay of State Officers, Kenyan lawmakers’ salaries has remained abnormally high as MPs blackmail institutions. A deal brokered by Deputy President William Ruto in June set the representatives’ monthly pay at Shs 532,500, taxable at the rate of 30 per cent, yet supported unlimited allowances or benefits. The SRC had restricted them to have a minimum of 16 committee sessions per month. This therefore means that MPs could only take home a maximum sitting allowance of Shs 80,000 every month. The chair persons among the members take home Shs 10,000 and their deputies Shs 8,000 per session.
Kenyan legislators also take home a weekly travel benefit of Shs 109 for every single kilometre for as high as 750 kilometres every week, MPs therefore increase their earnings arbitrarily against the stipulation of SRC. Do they worth such abnormal salaries? An average Kenyan who has a job earns at least about $1,800 annually. Based on Kenyatta’s statement, the Government spends almost $4.6 billion per year in salaries, leaving only $2.3 billion for development; a ratio he said he was not able to maintain.
Note that the basic salary mentioned above does include other perks (sitting, responsibility, mileage, and pension allowance) our legislators receive. Now, let’s consider other benefits they gain from dubbed grants such as Shs 5 million to buy luxury cars and cheap mortgage of up to Shs 20 million priced at 3% amounting ( salaries, allowances and grants) to Shs 15.7 billion, all coming from Kenya’s public sector wage bill. Anyway based on reports, our President used to take home Kshs 1.2 million ($14,000) a month, but with the new 20% wage reduction, he now takes home slightly over $11,000 a month, excluding other benefits, allowance and grants.
Do you think this salary scale for both the President and the Politicians in okay, considering the situation of things in the country and the fact that Kenya is still ranked one of the poorest countries? Are our Politicians not supposed to devote more time, energy and resources towards doing things that will lift the Nation rather than pull it down the more?