The autocratic tendency of Parliament has reared its ugly head again.
Shortly after the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) moved to court to block illegal allowances that the legislators had irregularly awarded themselves, the MPs have turned their arsenal against the institution.
The Budget and Appropriations Committee has slashed Sh104.6 million in allowances from the SRC budget for the year starting July 1 in a move that is unashamedly retaliatory.
The fact is that MPs earn an aggregate package that includes house allowance.
As such, according to SRC, they cannot earn the same allowance twice.
The house allowance is part of the various allowances that MPs earn on top of their basic salary, which is Sh532,500.
Together with the allowances, this comes to over Sh1 million every month.
But in its campaign to cut the SRC to size, the budget committee is also plotting change in the SRC Act to make the job of commissioners part time.
The message that Parliament is sending out is a stark one: That the SRC should either look the other way as MPs loot the public coffers or be made irrelevant.
This is setting a bad precedent.
Parliament should avoid the temptation of abusing its legislative powers to intimidate SRC or any other institution for that matter.
The first crop of commissioners, led by Sarah Serem was always on the receiving end of the MPs who frequently accused it of “meddling” in their pay matters yet the commission was only doing its job. It is only right that Parliament respects other constitutional institutions.
And even though it has also been bullied in similar fashion in the past, the SRC should stand its ground and ensure these excesses are brought to an end.
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