Sunday, November 30, 2008



By Athman Amran and Robert Nyasato

ODM-Kenya MPs have agreed to pay taxes, following in the footsteps of Kangundo MP Johnston Muthama.

All the 18 MPs agreed to have their allowances taxed during the National Delegates Conference (NDC) at the Kasarani Gymnasium, Nairobi, on Saturday.

Muthama, an ODM-Kenya MP, was the first to volunteer to be taxed after majority of legislators opposed the proposal to tax them.

"ODM-Kenya supports the principle of taxation for all Kenyans, including Members of Parliament," a statement from NDC said.

The number of MPs who have volunteered to pay tax has risen to 24.

Last Thursday, Assistant Minister Mwangi Kiunjuri and Mathioya MP Clement Muchiri joined five other MPs who asked to be taxed.

Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo and his Tetu counterpart FT Nyammo were also among the first MPs to agree to have their allowances taxed.

At the same time, Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi has said taxation of MPs’ allowances should be dealt with through an independent body.

Mudavadi said as long as the Parliamentary Service Commission was charged with reviewing MPs’ salaries, taxation would be in vain.

"Hata wewe ukiambiwa ujinyoe mwenyewe utapata ni ngumu (If you are told to shave yourself, you would find it difficult), he said.

Urgent reforms

He called for a separate institution to deal with MPs’ pay packages and taxation, saying it would be a major problem if everybody was left to decide his or her own payment.

The minister said the issue of establishing separate institutions to handle such matters should be factored in the new constitution.

He said it was in order for MPs to pay tax but regretted that Parliament had sealed the fate of legislators’ allowances being taxed this time round.

Mudavadi spoke when Nyaribari Chache MP Robert Monda hosted him at Kirwa Secondary School during a fundraiser, on Friday.

Public Works Minister Chris Obure, Public Health Assistant Minister James Gesami and his Trade counterpart Omingo Magara also addressed the meeting.

They backed Mudavadi’s sentiments but said they would endorse taxation of their allowances on condition that the funds are channelled to their respective Constituency Development Fund kitties.

trickle down

"We are taxed for purposes of development of our communities. I support this move if the money will trickle back to my constituents through CDF and other grassroots initiatives," Monda said