Service Bill, 2019, which sought to enhance their domestic and foreign travel allowances.
In a memorandum of August 16, 2019, sent to the National Assembly yesterday, the President noted that signing the bill passed on July 4 into law, violates the Constitution as the proposal of allowances did not have the input of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).
SRC chaired by Ms Lyn Mengich is constitutionally mandated to regularly evaluate and review the remuneration and benefits of all State and public officers.
“In view of the foregoing, I recommend that the clause be deleted,” President Kenyatta says in the memo. He now wants the Parliamentary Service Commission to do this with the advice of the salaries commission.
The MPs now have a daunting task of marshalling at least two-thirds majority or 233 of the 349 members in the National Assembly to overturn the presidential memorandum.
If it happens, it will be the first time to marshal the numbers to veto the President’s text in the history of the Kenyan parliament.
Clause 20 (2) of the rejected bill, provided that PSC shall regularly review the domestic and international travel allowances applicable to the members and staff of Parliament.
President Kenyatta’s argument is that the review of allowances does not take into account or make reference to the role of SRC.
The clause further sought to provide for the facilitation of activities held outside the precincts of Parliament by members and staff of parliament.
This would have effectively seen taxpayers pay for the MPs’ caucuses as well as their parliamentary group meetings held outside Parliament.
The President also stopped a proposal that would have given PSC the powers to remunerate parliamentary employees after every three years as contained in clause 43 (1) of the bill, which the President’s memo faults for not taking into account the advisory role of the SRC.
The clause sought to empower PSC to determine the review cycle of remuneration and allowances of its employees.