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If a Legislative Proposal currently before parliament is passed into law Governors and their deputies will be entitled to a lifetime pension.

The proposal seeks to amend the Retirement Benefits (Deputy President and Designated State Officers) Act, Cap 19B. It seeks to include governors and their deputies into the league of president, deputy president and MPs, who are guaranteed a gratuity and lifetime pension upon retirement.

The amendment is sponsored by Nyando MP Jared Okelo.

In the Bill, governors and their deputies, who have served full two terms of five years each, will have their welfare catered to by taxpayers money.

Currently, the law only gives president, deputy president and MPs pension.

For MPs, one must have served two terms in either of the Houses of Parliament.

County chiefs are only presently paid a gratuity equivalent to 31 per cent of the basic pay earned in the period they serve.

Okelo has written to National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula communicating his intention to amend the retirement benefits law.

In the proposal, governors and their deputies will also be entitled to gratuity calculated on the years worked before pension sets in.

“Pursuant to Standing Order 114(1), I would like to introduce a Bill to amend the Retirement Benefits (Deputy President and Designated State Officers) Act, Cap 197B to provide for the payment of gratuity and monthly pension for governors and deputy governors who serve for two terms,” Okelo’s letter to the Speaker read.

He argues that governors and their deputies are state officers, just like MPs, and they should be catered to upon exit of office.

“Although governors and deputy governors are state officers within the meaning of Article 260 of the Constitution, the Retirement Benefits (Deputy President and Designated State Officers) Act, Cap 197B has not provided for them,” the proposal reads.

“The legislative proposal therefore resolves this by seeking to provide for the retirement benefits of governors and deputy governors and in particular on gratuity and pension.”

“In recognition of their service to the people of Kenya, the proposed legislative proposal, will enable the protection of the welfare of governors and deputy governors after they leave office.”

This is not the first time attempts are being made to have taxpayers shoulder the welfare of the county chiefs.

Through the County Assemblies Forum (CAF), governors had in 2021 proposed send-off packages similar to those enjoyed by retired presidents, deputy presidents, chief justices and speakers of Parliament.

It would have also see their deputies, speakers and MCAs go home with hefty packages.

The governors and their deputies sought for a lifetime pension of up to Sh2.3 billion annually and a monthly pension of Sh739,200 (governors) and Sh700,000 (deputies), respectively.

According to the Bill, retiring governors, who serve for two terms, get a lump sum of one year salary, meaning with the current payout of Sh924,000 per month, the total pay would be Sh11.1 million.

Apart from the pay, they were also seeking a lump sum payment equivalent to their one year pay, a 3,000cc four-wheel-drive car, fuel allowance, a driver, a personal assistant and medical cover for local and overseas treatment.

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), however, disputed terming it as unrealistic, unsustainable and a burden to taxpayers.

“The proposal for pension and other non-pension benefits for governors and deputies are not fiscally affordable and sustainable due to the budgetary implication. For instance, it will cost public coffers in excess of Sh2.3 billion in the first year alone,” SRC said.

—Source: The Star 

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