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Writes Leo Odera Omolo.

KENYANS want President Mwai Kibaki, the Prime Minister Raila Odinga and the Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka to reduce the number of people accompanying them on foreign trips to cut the costs of their travels.

They also want the two principals in the coalition government to reduce the Cabinet to 24. The cost maintaining the bloated grand coalition is too high.

There are 42 ministries and about 100 and assistant ministers – the largest cabinet in the history of the country.

In a report of the cost of living prepared by Parliamentary Select committee chaired by Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba, which is due to be debated in the House this week, Kenyans also reported to want salaries and allowances paid to the MPs slashed by half.

Already leaked into the public domain by thee Nairobi daily paper, THE STAR, the report says that the majorit if the Kenyans want the government to implement austarity including reduction of the number of foreign trips made by MPs and cabinet ministers, and enforcing the law for them to pay taxes on their allowances and salaries.

If implemented, government will reduce its expenditure and direct the money to the provision of basic needs like food and health services.

The parliamentary committee was formed in May in response to widespread public outcry over the unprecedented spiral in inflation and a sharp rise in the cost of fuel and foodstuff.

The committee’s primary mandate was to inquire into the factors behind the high cost of living and recommend the way forward.

"The committee heard that the large cabinet was contributing to the high cost of living among Kenyans and salaries paid to the MPs were very high It further heard that a lot of government revenue is used by MPS and cabinet ministers in unnecessary foreign travel”, the report said.

A Kenyan MP is earning a salary and allowance totaling Kshs 851,000 the, biggest in the Commonwealth and even supersedes what a member of the House of Common in the Uk is earning. So the Kenyan public wants it reduced by half and to not exempt from tax.

The head of the Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet, Francis Muhaura, who appeared before the committee, said that the cost of running the government did not have any effect on the rising cost of living if the number of employees in it remained unchanged.

The government on its part blames the Parliamentary Service Commission for increasing the foreign travel allowance to MPs which has in turn made cabinet ministers and their assistants also demand an increase in their allowances.

The Permanent Secretary in the Public Service Ministry, Titus Ndambuki, said the PSC’s decision had led to “revolt” in the cabinet.

Some of the favorite destinations by MPs are away in the UK, UAE and South Africa, Singapore, and Sweden. An allowance for traveling MPs was raised from Kshs 32,000{USD 525} to Kshs 100,000 {USD 1,000} per day.

The increase of the allowances saw parliamentary’ budget allocations for foreign trips shoot from Kshs 289 million last year to KJshs 379 million this year.

There has been heated debate by civil society vehemently opposed to numerous foreign trips and increases of MPs and Ministers salaries and allowances arguing these increases were uncalled for and burdening the Kenyan taxpayers.


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  1. I totally agree the mps wages should be reduced by half and those funds be put in infrastructures like good roads so that when your onroad your not actually off road ,kenyan citizens have the right to drive on road and litter bins on the streets,there’s a lot of garbage on the streets(that goes to the department on environment) so the mps funds and our taxes we pay to the govt should be used to make our country beautiful and healthy.

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