Unpacking the Akiwumi Commission report

Posted by on 20th August 2010

Categories:   Members of Parliament MP Participation News

A few weeks ago, we linked to the full Akiwumi report, which provides full details about the proposals to raise MP’s salaries and benefits.

Now that the referendum dust has settled, we think it’s important to shift focus back to critical issues related to our MPs and the Akiwumi report is one of them.   This post is a focus on some key points in the report that stand out to us .

  • There were only 295 oral submissions received by the commission and 70 written ones.   For a nation that has been up in arms regarding the Akiwumi Commission’s proposals, one has to wonder why not more of us voiced our opinions before the Commission when we had an opportunity to?   As we often say, political accountability also includes us as Kenyan voters (notable absence from most civil society groups, and labour unions as well)
  • Some of the benefits recommended include:
    • Kshs 10,000,000 in patient cover.
    • Maternity of Kshs 500,000 per family.
    • Personal accident cover of Kshs 10,622,000 per MP
    • “decent burials” for MPs
    • Car allowance raised to Kshs 95,000 per month
    • Severance allowance of Kshs 300,000 for each year of service
  • Retirement benefits for Prime Minister and VP:
    • one vehicle of their choice not exceeding 1800cc
    • one four-wheel drive of their choice not exceeding 3000cc
    • fuel allowance of Kshs 50,000 per month
    • vehicles will be maintained at govt’s cost and be replaced every 4 years.
    • full medical cover for self, spouse and children up to 18 years to include overseas treatment.
    • a PA, housekeeper, cook, gardener, two security officers, one secretary, one cleaner, and two drivers
    • diplomatic passports for them and spouses
  • The Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) which aids the MPs in their legislative work has a staff of 941.  It is connected to all provincial headquarters via the internet but only 50% of all districts.
  • The PSC goes through 700 reams of paper per week and its research unit has only 10 staffers.
  • The Constituency Office act allows each MP to have a constituency office, a constituency manager and other staff.   Each MP receives Kshs 2.4 million per year to support the office.
  • Several presentations noted on the need to educate constituents about the roles and responsibilities of both MPs and constituents.
  • Report recommends a performance index for MPs – what are they supposed to do? do they do it? are constituents aware of what they are doing / not doing?
  • The tribunal found that “it would be dishonorable to monitor whether MPs have been visiting their constituencies.”
  • Mileage claims submitted by MPs are currently not verified (e.g. in Australia odometers are checked weekly).
  • MPs claim a sitting allowance not just for committees but also for attending Parliament (Kshs 5,000 per sitting)
  • 29 MPs reflected a net salary payment  of Kshs 10,000 and below, following deductions for various loans etc.  81 MPs reflected a net payment of Kshs 100,000 and less.   Clearly some MPs are over-committed.
  • Total MP salary at independence in 1963 was kshs 860, current salary including allowances kshs 851,000 per month.
  • Current transport allowance of Kshs 366,000 was never legally approved.