By Mzalendo Contributor – Moreen Majiwa
‘The government is not in support of the exorbitant figure of Sh1.3 million per month for the Chair of the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC), Sh1.17 million for the Vice Chair and 1.14 million for the Commissioners. This translates to Sh10.4 million per month, for the commissioners alone, these rates are not only above normal for other state officials but unsustainable.” Dr Alfred Mutua, the government spokesperson, said in an official statement following the government’s rejection of the salary structure for CIC commissioners proposed by the Public Service Commission (PSC).
The salary of CIC commissioners was the result of a negotiation between the Treasury, the PSC and the CIC in early May in accordance with Article 17 of the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution Act 2010 which states: ‘Salaries and allowances payable to…. the chairperson and the members [of the CIC] shall, pending the establishment of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, be determined by the Public Service Commission in consultation with the Treasury.’ Though the government has rejected the proposed salary structure the Commissioners of the CIC have argued that the amount proposed by the PSC falls within the Band A1 of the Constitutional Offices Remuneration Act of 2009 in which Band A1 means: ‘A salary scale commencing at Kshs. 399, 440 per month, increasing by 39, 940 per annum to Kshs. 439,380 per month; thereafter increasing by Ksh.43, 140 per annum to Kshs. 482,520 per month; thereafter increasing by Ksh.49,140 per annum to Ksh.531, 660 per month; thereafter increasing by Ksh.55, 140 per annum to Kshs. 586,800 per month; thereafter increasing by Kshs. 61,140 per annum to Ksh.647, 940 per month thereafter increasing by Ksh.67, 140 to Kshs. 916, 500 per month.’
The major implication of the government’s stance on the CIC commissioners’ salaries – which have not been paid for the last 7 months of service – means they are unlikely to be remunerated until the matter is resolved. The fallout from the failure of the government and the CIC to reach an agreement on the issue of commissioners’ salaries has resulted in long-standing delay in the hiring of CIC staff the CIC currently operates without a secretariat. More recently the CIC commissioners have stated that due to the ongoing salary dispute bills on Devolution, Police Reform, Lands, Leadership and Integrity will be shelved. With the next election less then 13 months away is there could not be a worse to shelve these particular bills. The commissioners have also stated their intention to work on a part-time basis an act that will significantly slow down the implementation process.
While Dr. Alfred Mutua, communicating for the government, is right in stating that the commissioners salaries are above normal (Band A1 according to the Constitutional Offices (Remuneration) (Act 2009) is reserved for the Attorney General and Chief Justice, Commissioners e.g. those in PSC and IIEC, fall within Band A2 or A3). If the PSC was consulting the Treasury in the CIC salary negotiations, surely the Treasury should have raised the fact that government can neither afford nor sustain such salaries and allowances during the negotiation stage and a more realistic and acceptable salary agreement reached. If the CIC commissioners’ salaries were negotiated and agreed upon by the PSC, the Treasury and CIC, the commissioners have a right to expect to be paid the agreed amount. A possible solution of course would be to pay the Commissioners’ the legally negotiated amount and tax both their salary and allowances, just like the salaries of every other Kenyan. But with the majority of the 212 MPs refusing to remit their taxes they have lost the moral authority to insist that other state officials be taxed? In all this confusion one thing is clear there clearly needs to be established an acceptable, affordable and sustainable salary scale for constitutional officers that is acceptable to both taxpayers and the state officers performing the service.