MPs to block send-off perks for Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka

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Raila kalonzoJubilee Coalition MPs will amend a proposed law that seeks to provide hefty send-off packages for former top State officers to lock out Cord leaders Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka until they officially retire from active politics.

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale said on Wednesday the two Cord leaders should not benefit from the proposed Retirement Benefits (Deputy President and Designated State Officers) Bill 2013, because they were still actively involved in the country’s political affairs.

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“I will move an amendment to make it clear that individuals to benefit are purely those who have retired. We should be clear on that. If someone is still actively involved in politics or plans to run in the 2017 elections, then he should not think of getting any package,” Mr Duale said from China where he is accompanying President Uhuru Kenyatta on tour of the Asian country.

And on Wednesday evening, Deputy President William Ruto asked Parliament to reduce the proposed packages to lessen the burden on taxpayers.

“I respect the constitutional principle of separation of powers, but I urge Parliament to review this Bill with a view to making the package reasonable and not extravagant. Retirement benefits are meant to make individuals live a fair life, but not an extravagant one,’’ Mr Ruto said in a statement.

Mr Duale spoke as a consortium of NGOs said they would move to court to block the proposals, which if passed will see Deputy President, Mr Odinga, Mr Musyoka and other former top officials earn between Sh49 million and Sh85 million each a year in retirement perks.

The Bill by Suba MP John Mbadi is backed by the salaries commission and Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich who has drafted a Bill with similar proposals.

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission estimated that the Treasury would fork out more than Sh484 million a year to cater for the packages.

Mr Mbadi told the Nation yesterday that MPs hope to have the Bill published by September 17 when the House resumes from recess. “The proposed packages are for State officers who were left out in the other law that was assented to by former President Kibaki,” he said.

Mr Duale said although the Jubilee coalition was yet to take a common position on the matter, he would rally MPs to support the intended amendments.

“The two lost an election. They have not retired, so why should anyone think of paying them for losing an election? If so then those former MPs who vied for various posts and lost should also be part of the benefiting group,” he said.

Finance committee chairman Benjamin Lagat said his team would amend the Bill.

The Constitution implementation commission has called for a policy outlining the rationale of the benefits and the State officers entitled to the perks.

However, Public Accounts Committee chairman Ababu Namwamba described the Bill as unattainable and a burden to taxpayers.

“I hope that my fellow parliamentarians will look at it keenly and see the sense to reduce these amounts including what the retired Presidents are earning,” he said.-nation.co.ke

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