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MP’s proposal to put elders on Ksh7,000 stipends

Monday, May 13th, 2024 04:09 | By
Ambassadors for peace and security, including chiefs and village elders, gather in Mombasa during an official event. PHOTO/Print
Ambassadors for peace and security, including chiefs and village elders, gather in Mombasa during an official event. PHOTO/Print

More than 45,000 village elders are set to reap big following a new law which seeks to provide a framework for their recognition and facilitation.

This follows the unanimous approval by the National Assembly of a bill by Kibwezi West MP Mwengi Mutuse last month, to recognise village administrative units and remunerate the village elders.

The bill seeks to amend the National Government Coordination Act to appoint village heads.

The MP argues that village elders have existed since independence offering crucial government services to the public for free, contrary to provisions of Article 41 of the Constitution on fair labour practices. 

Mutuse has proposed that each of the more than 45,000 village elders will earn a monthly stipend of between Sh7,000 and Sh12,445, for their role in overseeing the bottom tier of National Government Administration Structure. 

According to a public participation notice published by Interior Principal Secretary Raymond Omollo, Kenyans have until June 6, to submit their views and written memoranda on the proposed legislation, and the National Government Village Administration Policy. 

“The Draft National Government Village Administration Policy seeks to provide a framework for recognition and facilitation of Village Administrative Elders for efficient service delivery at village level. The Ministry therefore invites stakeholders and the public in general to submit views on the Draft Bill and policy” reads the notice.

Academic qualifications

Among the issues to be determined include the academic qualifications, the recruitment and retirement age of the village elders and their duties and remuneration.  There has been consensus that they should not be uniformed like chiefs and their assistants. 

Mutuse says he was motivated by the suffering of village elders as they discharge official government duties to the public without pay and how service delivery can be effective countrywide if they’re facilitated. 

Peaceful co-existense

“Today’s village elders resolve disputes among local residents, promote peaceful co-existence among communities, address security issues in addition to enforcing government policies like ensuring all children attend schools and health interventions like mass vaccinations and immunisations”, said Mutuse. 

Addressing journalists in his constituency, the MP said he had held discussions with Ministry of Interior and the Parliamentary Budget Office on the possible costing scenarios and settled on an allowance model of Sh7,000 per elder, per month in nearly 50,000 villages spread across Kenya. “After numerous consultations with the leadership of parliament and Government, it was felt that such a monumental reform proposal required Government backing especially because of the huge budgetary implications, and I’m pleased that the Government is carrying forward this initiative which has remained very elusive in the past” he said. 

In drafting the Amendment Bill, Mutuse has benchmarked with several countries that have adopted and enlisted village units heads including Rwanda, Tanzania, Botswana, Ghana and Indonesia.

“I urge Kenyans and key stakeholders to come out and give their views in support of remunerating our village heads who are very instrumental in safeguarding our nation’s socio- economic fabric” the first term MP said. If each of the 9045 sub locations gets five village elders enlisted on the government payroll, it will cost the tax payer Sh3.9 billion annually. If the elders are given Sh12,445 which is the average basic monthly pay for general labour, it will cost about Sh7.09 billion every year. This excludes the recruitment expenses in the first year.

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