Over a long period of time, village elders have been neglected. They have only been earning small gifts from people who normally feel their good job.
But do you know that they might soon start earning just like any other public administrator?
Well, Lawmakers are pushing for village elders to be put on the public payroll, saying they have been neglected despite their contribution to governance.
The legislators say elders aid in dispute resolution, facilitate national government services like promotion of education and handle security issues through Nyumba Kumi, among other work.
Free NHIF cover, uniforms and modest offices are some of the benefits the lawmakers want village elders given in appreciation.
The MPs who included George Murugara (Tharaka), Jimmy Angwenyi (Kitutu Chache North), John Mwirigi (Igembe South), Ferdinand Wanyonyi (Kwanza) and Chris Wamalwa (Kiminini) said elders play an important role and need to be appreciated.
Others supporting pay for elders are David Ole Sankok (nominated), Erick Muchangi (Runyenjes), Jerusha Momanyi (Nyamira MP) and Alfred Agoi (Sabatia)
Through a motion by Murugara, they urged the government to formulate and implement a policy on the criteria for recruitment and remuneration of village elders.
“Acknowledging the need to appreciate and motivate these village elders for the services rendered is important,” Murugaru said.
Angwenyi said having them on pay is long overdue.
Sankok described the current arrangement between the government and the village elders as modern-day slavery.
“We have a lot of government projects in the villages. When we send people from Nairobi to supervise, it takes lots of money which could be cheaply done by these elders,” Sankok said.
However, Kiminini MP Wamalwa said similar motions had been passed by three previous Houses but nothing has been done.
“Is it in order for Parliament to legislate in vain? I think it is time to bring it in the form of a Bill,” Wamalwa said.
The Kiminini lawmaker suggested an amendment to the Chief’s Act to create offices of village elder and provide for requirements for appointment and remuneration.