Nothing infuriates a broke, hungry man like a neighbour’s show of opulence and waste. The neighbour’s appetite for more and his ability to get it, makes the poor man’s anger even more painful and unbearable. It gets worse when the rich neighbour snatches the morsels of the poor man and adds it to his wasteful wealth!
That is the situation prevailing in today’s Kenya.
Our parliamentarians have gone rogue. They are paid beyond the means of the country, at a minimum of Sh1.2 million. Their own internal investigations recently confirmed that some of them were paid Sh10,000 to deny Kenyans the truth about some poisonous sugar that was imported into the country and onto the compatriots’ dining table. The MPs literally took bribes to help kill their fellow Kenyans, and de-facto employers!
And now they want more.
Our legislators, from both the Senate and National Assembly are now scheming to have the public give each of them a rent-free house and an extra fully fuelled vehicle. They also want us to pay them to marry and maintain more wives and husbands complete with multi-million worth insurance! It was interesting to read what Raphael Wanjala, the Budalang’i MP who at one time was in the news for matters not related to nation building.
““It is wrong because I have two wives and both of them successfully campaigned for me. But selecting only one for insurance cover is wrong. It is discriminative because where does the other one get the cover,” Mr Wanjala was quoted saying.
In what the conniving politicians have baptised as the Parliamentary Service Bill, and which they are set to debate and pass in a matter of days, the 416 men and women we took to Parliament are also angling to have their two Speakers given more money as house allowances. Also to benefit from these enhanced house allowances are majority leaders and their deputies as well as majority and minority whips and their deputies in both Houses.
The proposed housing perks, as the Nation reported, are on top of the Sh20 million mortgage facility that each MP gets. The MPs are also demanding government cars and car loans on top of the mileage allowance and the Sh7 million car grant they all receive. They also want “improved allowances” for domestic and international travel.
The legislators’ current medical scheme has a Sh10 million inpatient cover per family, Sh300,000 for outpatient services, Sh150,000 for maternity and Sh75,000 for dental care. But they say this isn’t honourable and more is needed and must be given.
The bill also advocates for each the 290 constituencies to have a “public participation and monitoring office” fully funded by the taxpayer. This is separate from the much loved CDF. Each of the 47 senators will also have a monitoring office of their own, preferably with a budget of Sh2 billion!
Our lawmakers are also tired of the bad food they are served in their three-star cafeteria within Parliament currently and say they will do well with some improvement. They have already visited five countries for benchmarking and know exactly the kind of food and service they want us to pay for. They visited, at our cost, the US, the UK, Northern Ireland, New Zealand and India where they discovered they need bigger tea pots, a better bar, five-star chefs, and new bidets in the washrooms. For those who aren’t sure what bidets are and what their use is, please consult a dictionary!
But there is some hope.
Despite the fact that MPs have the exclusive duty to make laws, even if selfish, there is an office whose responsibility is to make the so made legislations operational. And that office, luckily, has an occupant who has consistently exhibited undoubtable sobriety. Here is where our luck lies.
Fortunately again, President Uhuru Kenyatta, the man whose pen will decide if we will continue paying to have the legislators’ backsides washed daily- for that is what bidets do- has already pronounced himself on the matter. He has called out the MPs for their greed and asked them to rethink their priorities, like normal men and women. But, by Thursday afternoon, the honourables looked determined to legitimise their robbery and murder.
President Uhuru, however, is a man who knows what is right for his people and country. We can be sure he won’t disappoint and I want to remind him that history will be very kind to him if he called the legislators bluff.
If the unfortunate bill comes to your desk in its current form Mr President, don’t hesitate to shred it. On our part, we are waiting for 2022 to shred the entire 12th Parliament, if their greed will not terminate us before we get there that is!
Mr Cherambos comments on topical issues. [email protected]