What you need to know:
- The MPs have gone beyond greed this time. This now, my dear fellow Kenyans, is daylight robbery by our MPs.
- Some politicians (in anticipation of marrying many wives, I bet) have started to demand health insurance and allowances for their harem.
- Kenyan MPs are the highest-paid. For a third-world country, they earn much more than MPs from countries that give us aid.
The 13th Parliament made demands for more money even before they had been sworn in or put in an hour of work.
They have shown their intent: They are here to ‘eat’, not work. I don’t remember any other parliament in Kenya that has been so brazen about feasting on public money as the current one.
They have gone beyond greed this time. This now, my dear fellow Kenyans, is daylight robbery by our MPs.
Some politicians (in anticipation of marrying many wives, I bet) have started to demand health insurance and allowances for their harem.
That is a ‘soft’ brothel expected to be run by politicians in the name of polygamy.
They are readying to have all the conjugal exercise, enjoy it, have all the fun and then send the bill to the taxpayers to pay for their indiscretions.
If no taxpayer was part of the negotiations during courtship and many ‘traditional’ marriages entered into by politicians, they should not have to pay for it.
For starters, Kenyan MPs are the highest-paid. For a third-world country, they earn much more than MPs from countries that give us aid.
That is more than in the US, UK and anywhere in Europe. Our MPs deserve suits and expensive cars, according to Francis Atwoli—he of Cotu, an organisation that is not only a shame to struggling poor workers but an assault on the very meaning of the word leadership as they hang onto Atwoli.
A man who lives more for himself and his ego than the workers. No wonder, he thinks the dignity of handsomely paid Kenyan MPs will wane if their salary is not increased.
Dignity and higher pay
If he wants to know people who deserve dignity and higher pay, Atwoli need not look further than the slums of Nairobi that are home to the poorest of workers perhaps anywhere in the world.
Whose idea of a toilet is plastic bags thrown through a peephole of their paper shacks for lack of a toilet?
People who cannot access clean water without cartels saying so and universal healthcare is a fancy word printed on newspapers that means little.
The highly paid MPs were rewarded well so that they give dignity to slum dwellers and lowly paid workers.
Instead, they chose to milk them even more of their little hard-earned income by demanding more suits, posh cars and health insurance for their concubines. They clearly have more time for bedtime than anything else.
As the 13th Parliament demands extra cash and pressures the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to up their perks, millions of Kenyans face starvation.
The latest UN report puts the number of food-insecure Kenyans due to drought at a staggering 3.5 million!
The drought was declared a national disaster by then-President Uhuru Kenyatta and the UN has made several appeals for help.
The global economic downturn has also affected Kenya, leading to an increase in the cost of living. The huge debt inherited by the current government needs servicing. How cruel could the 13th Parliament be to demand more perks in these difficult circumstances?
Kenyan presidents hold the country back by spending billions of shillings to please MPs than the voters. That is when things go wrong for the country. We have placed politicians on a pedestal and they do not deserve that.
They have gobbled up funds meant for the key workers needed to drive the economy. Qualified doctors, nurses, police and teachers should not be earning as little as they do.
They are the engine we need to produce and protect the human capital required to build a better economy.
The Kenya Kwanza government has hinted at returning CDF to the hands of MPs. That is a terrible idea, given that the fund is used by MPs as a corruption pathway.
What is required is more funding for public institutions. The money being demanded by MPs should be going to relevant key departments to improve service delivery.
Some of the MPs gloating about private health insurance could be queuing at public hospitals, seeking treatment, in their winter years.
Private health for MPs is a passing fad. It won’t be there once an MP loses the election. Better service delivery will be there for all if MPs stop looking at short-term gains but long-term ones for the benefit of all Kenyans, including them.
Bridge the gap
SRC and the employers should be looking to bridge the gap in salaries by paying living wages to all workers than focusing on remunerating MPs.
All Kenyans deserve decent lives. Politicians, particularly MPs, are not any more special than the rest of Kenyans. It’s not for the taxpayers to plum their egos with extra-huge perks.
Parliament is not for making MPs richer but legislating for better lives for all Kenyans. MPs’ salaries should be flattened and frozen to stop the abuse of power by Parliament.
Ms Guyo is a legal researcher. [email protected]. @kdiguyo