By Ababu Namwamba
COME LET’S REASON TOGETHER ABABU TELLS MPS
PRESS RELEASE FROM NEW YORK
Am surprised by sentiments attributed to National Assembly Speaker, Hon Justin Muturi regarding a Motion I filed with his office on Monday 21st September, 2015, and which he has since approved for debate when the House reconvenes on September 29th.
The Speaker is the ultimate arbiter in debates in the House. Like the blindfolded Justice Manequin in classical Greeko-Roman tradition, he must hear all impartially, without “seeing” the shade or hue of the debater. And he does so, not in public rallies, village funerals or the press, but from his hallowed chair in the House, from whence he reigns berobed in legislative splendor and authority.
When Mr. Speaker purports to preempt debate, to prematurely and casually pass a verdict either way outside the House, he shames the dignity of his office, compromises the authority of the House and defiles the sanctity of legislation.
And by the way, just how does the Speaker approve a Motion in the privacy of his office, then turn around to demonise it in public?
The ultimate aim of my Motion is to trigger a comprehensive review and harmonisation of Kenya’s grotesquely imbalanced and inequitable public wage structure, which is unsustainably burdensome and defined by morally reprehensible disparities between top earners and those condemned to scavenge at the bottom of the pyramid.
“Populist” or not, this is a just, moral, noble and timely mission.
It is apparent that many who have rushed to oppose this Motion have not taken time to appreciate it’s full import. By passing the motion, Parliament will not be usurping the role of effecting the changes in public service remuneration. No. Parliament will have “spoken” as the national voice of citizens, the collective conscience of the nation. Subsequently, the institutions with responsibility to make the desired changes will move to translate that people’s will into action.
To aid this mission, Parliament will enact the required enabling legislation, which will inlude a number of constitutional amendments. I have already instructed a team of legal and economic experts who are right now preparing a comprehensive slate of the necessary legislative measures that include a minimum of three Bills. Some measures like reducing the number of legislators in national and county assemblies as well as downsizing constitutional commissions will require the people’s direct popular voice through a referendum.
I wish to reiterate that this is one mission I am fully committed to driving all the way to its logical conclusion. Am ready and prepared to move the Motion after the House reconvens from recess, on September 29th.
If indeed as leaders we are genuinely concerned about the plight of teachers, uniformed officers, medical personnel and thousands of other poorly remunerated public servants; if we sure are serious about triming the burgeoning public wage bill that is constricting development spending and service delivery; if we truly care for the long-suffering ordinary Kenyans; if indeed we are more than merely masters of rhetoric in pursuit of some cheap political bonga points, then let us do something about all these! I have put something on the table. If you have anything better or further, bring it forth.
I thank Speaker Muturi for approving my Motion, and ask him to remain the impartial arbiter and nothing more in this debate. I invite my opposition leaders and colleagues to rally around this Motion as among the legislative and policy options that can move the country forward.
I challenge his Excellency President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta to act the Commander-in-Chief that he is, by leading from the front in supporting this Motion, taking the 50% paycut and rallying the rest of his government to follow suit.
I thank my fellow Kenyans for the overwhelming support you have offered for the Motion. Please keep the pressure high and loudly in order for the public administrative state to yield through its various institutions.
For each one of us, this must be the moment to live the immortal words of JF Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask instead what you can do for your country”!
God bless Kenya.
(From New York, where I am attending the UN General Assembly)
Hon Ababu Namwamba, EGH, MP
CHAIRMAN, Accountability Kenya
“If they attack you personally it means they have not a single political point left”! Margaret Thatcher