TheÂ Commission for the Implementation of the ConstitutionÂ has clarified thatÂ Salaries and Remuneration CommissionÂ is the only body mandated by the Constitution to determine salaries of State officers.
CIC Chairman Charles Nyachae said MPs, who are now insisting SRC gazetted the new pay structures before tabling the same before Parliament, are wrong as the Constitution is clear about the role and independence of the commission.
â€œThe Constitution in article 230 (4) sets out the mandate of the SRC which is to â€˜set and regularly review the remuneration and benefits of all state officersâ€™,â€ Nyachae said in an interview with The Standard.
He continued: â€œIf you read Article 230 together with Article 260, which define who a State officer is, the mandate is the same whether you talk about the Inspector General of Police, Cabinet Secretary and holder of an independent office or the MPs. The issue of any of them approving what SRC has set would have no effect on the SRCâ€™s mandate.â€
When setting the salaries and benefits of State officers, SRC is requiredÂ to seek views from the public as part of the process.
â€œBut the end product is the setting of pay by the SRC without seeking approval from any other body, Parliament included,â€ Nyachae explained.
Nyachae said Parliament has the oversight over all bodies including CIC, SRC and any other independent commission, but that oversight does not override the mandates of those bodies.
â€œLet us not mix issues. In the Constitution, commissions under article 249 and the holders of independent commissions â€˜are independent offices and are subject only to this Constitution and the lawâ€™. The SRC is therefore independent and not subject to direction or control by any person or authority,â€ Said Nyachae.
Abuse of privileges
Mr Mwalimu Mati of Mars Group also faulted MPsâ€™ argument thatÂ SRC should have first tabled the new structures before parliament before gazettement, calling it an abuse of their parliamentary privileges.
â€œThe SRC report is a final report and does not require it to be taken before another body for approval. MPS cannot veto their own salary,â€ he said.
Referring to a case where Parliamentary Service Commission had been taken to court over pay issues, Mati said the court ruled against them.
But while the CIC chairman Nyachae and Mati made the clarifications, Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno and former minister Public Service said the MPS are not challenging the mandate of the SRC but are wronged with their decision to revise their pay downwards.