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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Uhuru comments anger Kenyan MPs

Parliament is hitting out at Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta over his pronouncement through the media that the government cannot honor the 50% pay hike for members approved by parliament due to lack of funds.

Ikolomani Member of Parliament Bonny Khalwale on Thursday wanted the speaker to issue a ruling regarding the conduct of the minister for failing to state his case before parliament and instead opting to do so for the fourth estate, a move that he says has sparked unnecessary acrimony in the country.

This comes even as for the third consecutive sitting parliament adjourned before time due to lack of business after rejecting an adjournment motion last week in what is perceived as a protest against the government and the general public over the controversial pay hike.

Khalwale said Uhuru was acting in breach of house orders by using the media to discuss parliamentary business in a move that has put the legislature on a collision course with the electorate.

The speaker is expected to issue a ruling on the matter on Tuesday next week.

At the same time the speaker is expected to give a ruling following Thursday's boycott by ministers and assistant ministers to second an adjournment motion moved by the government whip Jakoyo Midiwo even as legislators failed to show up in parliament in an apparent go-slow.

MPs early this month adopted a report that doubles their salaries. However the finance minister has indicated the government cannot afford to pay the new salaries as they have not been factored in the budget.

In retaliation, MPs have threatened not to support the finance bill which would effectively paralyze government business. The MPs have also declined to support a motion for the adjournment of parliament to allow the legislators to campaign for or against the forthcoming referendum.

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