House allowances wrangle between SRC and MCAs heads to court
The wrangle between Members of County Assembly (MCAs) and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) over the latter’s call to be given house allowances could be headed back to the corridors of justice.
This is as even some MCAs have opposed the push by their counterparts to have the allowance implemented.
A section of Nairobi County Assembly MCAs threatened to head to court if the salaries commission does not effect a court ruling that awarding the ward representatives house allowance.
Led by their Majority Leader, Abdi Guyo, the county legislators now want the house allowances to be effected and implemented as per the 2018 High Court ruling over the same.
Mr Guyo hit out at SRC accusing the commission of being biased against the county assemblies, arguing that MCAs are classified as state officers and as such, should be allowed to have house allowance like their counterparts.
“This is a resolution that was passed by the County Assembly Forum and SRC knows we need the houses allowances. We are state officers too and nobody should discriminate against us,” said Mr Guyo on Sunday.
High Court Judge Chacha Mwita in the Constitutional Petition No. 328 of 2016 ruled on October 5 last year that deputy governors are entitled to house allowances like other state officers.
Mwita found that failure to award the deputy county chiefs housing allowances was discriminatory, unjustifiably selective, and contrary to Article 27 of the Constitution.
If SRC gives in to the MCAs demands, then the government will have to fork out Sh85,000 every month to the 1,450 ward reps across the country.
The Majority Leader also blamed the officials of the County Assembly Forum (CAF) for not pursuing the matter accusing the chairperson and his deputy for being self-centered as they negotiated for the increase of Speakers’ salaries and forgot the MCAs whom they represent.
“We cannot engage SRC directly but through the CAF. A Speaker is an employee of the MCAs and how can he get house allowance before the members. I don’t understand what type of rationale was used by the salaries commission to reward speakers house allowances first,” he said.
Guyo also condemned SRC’s move in July 10, 2019 which saw the increase of the executive salaries while the legislators who oversight have been left aside.
Mr Guyo’s assertions were echoed by his counterpart MCA Maurice Gari who called on SRC to be mindful of MCAs welfare by honouring the court ruling.
“The basic salary an MCA earns, if we deduct family expenses, loans and what we use in the ward from our personal pockets, one can easily remain with Sh7,000 in the pocket,” said the Nairobi West MCA.
However, the calls were rejected by two MCAs, who felt that awarding ward representatives the house allowances will further burden the mwananchi.
Eastleigh North MCA Osman Adow said that implementing such a perk will be an injustice and a selfish act by the county legislators.
“If one feels that they are earning less, they should go and look for other jobs instead of fighting for hefty perks just because the MPs and Senators are doing so,” he said.
Waithaka MCA Anthony Kiragu supported his counterpart saying that he will personally write to the clerk of the assembly that the house allowance should not be included in his pay slip.