I recently learned about and I am now involved in an initiative for change that I would like to invite you to join as a matter of urgency.
Kenyan taxpayers have come together (led by Okoiti Omtata) to institute legal proceedings at the Kenya High Court by Friday (6th December, 2008) seeking orders to anul Members of Parliament's powers to pay salary and allowances to themselves. The aim of the court case is to persuade our courts to rule that the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) is unconstitutional because it violates the principle of separation of powers. On close scrutiny you will note that the PSC is acting as an employer, a trade union, and an industrial court all rolled up into one. PSC left as it is, even Speaker Marende and Prime Minister Raila's proposal for a tribunal to review MP's salary and allowance won't yield much.
This is public interest matter and it is important that as many Kenyans as would be available enjoin themselves to this case. To qualify to enjoin yourself you must be a TAXPAYER capable of providing your NAME and PIN NUMBER. You can SMS: myself (+254 720 451 235); or Omtata (+254 722 684 777) or email back with details of your name and pin number. Why shouldn't you be part of this?
For background knowledge please read highlighted message below:
Bunge la Mwananchi
Bunge la Mwananchi is a social movement and a member of Kenya National Civil Society Congress.
On 4th November 1998, the then MP for Alego/Usonga, Hon. Peter Oloo Aringo, moved a motion that: “In order to promote and consolidate the dignity, independence and supremacy of Parliament, this House urges the government to take immediate steps, including the introduction of any necessary constitutional amendments, to establish a Parliamentary Service Commission which shall be directly responsible to the National Assembly.”
The basis for this motion, and subsequent constitutional amendment, was that there was need to strengthen and capacitate Parliament so that it may regain the independence necessary for the purposes of directing, organizing,
conducting and implementing its activities, free from the control and manipulation by the Executive. Among the specific objectives of the motion were:
* To improve and strengthen the roles played by various committees of the Parliament;
* To institutionalize parliamentary independence and to enable it to develop a sustainable organizational structure; and
* Catalyze the envisioning of an agenda for Parliament in the New millennium
Consequent to that motion, which was endorsed unanimously, a Bill to amend section 45 of the Constitution was brought before the House and unanimously passed. It became law and commenced on 19th November 1999, after receiving presidential assent on 17th November 1999.
This constitutional amendment repealed previous section 45 of the Constitution, which had created the office of the Clerk to the National
Assembly, making it an office in the public service. Instead, it enacted a new part 1A (Sections 45A and 45B) establishing the Parliamentary Service and a Parliamentary Service Commission – distinct from the Public Service Commission and Judicial Service Commission.
Section 45B(5) outlines the powers of the PSC.
It is instructive to note that the tribunal (now famously known as the Cockar Tribunal) that recommended the salary and allowance hikes was established in accordance with Section 45B(5)(b) of the Constitution. It should also be noted that the Amendment Act disables sections 48 and 107(1) of the Constitution.
The purpose of Section 48 of the Constitution, which requires
presidential recommendation, signified by a Minister before the National Assembly proceeds upon a Bill or motion (or amendment thereto) that imposes or alters taxation; imposes or alters a charge to the consolidated Fund or any other government fund; provides for the payment, issue or withdrawal from the Consolidated Fund … among others, was to create checks and balances on the spending powers of parliament. It was the office of the President that acted as the institutional check. Since the President himself was a member and leader of one of the parties, indeed the ruling party, there were justified fears that he could use this to strangulate or manipulate Parliament. However, this check was removed without institutional replacement. The only checks
and balances that our legislators appear to understand is the size of salary check and their bank balances. It has, thus, created a situation where the Parliament has spending powers outside any institutional checks. This has led to a mischievous situation where the temptation by honourable members to dip their hands into the public till for self-gain has become irresistible.
Therefore, the PSC is a trade union created through the abuse of privilege by MPs to enrich themselves illegally.
Finally, and most importantly, have a blessed day.