Outside their chambers, they fight and give all indications that they are enemies. Or at least, that is what they want us to see. In fact they call themselves names to sell the act. But here is the truth, just like Pro-wrestling, it is all scripted and predetermined. The punches and the kicks maybe real, but at the end it is a win-win situation: money in the bank. So are our chamber men and women. They always seem to disagree and fight. Locking horns around every corner of this country, but not when their salary is concerned. Whether the minority or the majority, government or opposition, young or old, when it comes to their salaries, swords are drawn. Faces are unmasked and true colours are shown. No script. Just the gray colour of greed.
Let’s put things into context. Kenyan Members of parliament are in the process of awarding themselves additional allowances that will cause an upsurge on their salaries from 1 million (basic salary of 621,250, committee allowances per sitting of 5,000, mileage transport allowance of about 266,00 among other allowances) to as high as 2.9 million per month. Apparently, according to our ‘Honorable members’, whose hefty perks is one of the highest globally, 1 million is not enough. And whereas almost each one of them has a house in Nairobi, they are demanding an extra 250,000 in house allowances or what they call now a ‘night allowance’. Remember immediately after elections, the MPs also get a mortgage of 35 million, medical insurance of 10.6 million, a car grant of 10 million and over 300,000 in car maintenance. Question is, do they deserve more?
In an economist’s mind, its common sense that wages should reflect productivity. There is no free lunch. And so I ask, how productive are our members of Parliament? Do we even know who they are? Some of them are a rarity in their constituencies, last seen roaming around during campaigns. It is a common practice, which is now escalating and quickly turning into bad manners, where our MPs are harassing the SRC for extra pay. Grounding the operations of the SRC will not justify and override the greed that has taken hostage our members of parliament. Here is a simple logic for them. You think an MP’s salary is small? Just quit and look for another job. And good luck in negotiating a higher salary.
The public wage bill is approaching 790 billion and anybody with common sense knows how unsustainable this can become. In fact the talk in town should be how we can control this. How we can optimize the civil service and lessen the weight on the tax payer. And I am thinking, we might need the ‘punguza mzigo’ referendum after all. I am yet to understand a few things. What was the the rationale behind having 349 members of the National Assembly in a country like Kenya, what exactly are deputy governors doing in this country and who in the hell thought creating 47 women representatives’ posts will translate to gender equity.
When teachers demand extra pay, I lay low because I know how productive they are and the power they hold in impacting the future generations of this country. When doctors demand resources and better working conditions, I understand because I know how the public health sector is lying in ruins in Kenya. But not MPs and not MCAs or any of these selfish leaders. All they have ever done is impoverish Kenyans with their greed, confuse us with their verbal diarrhea and instill a bad precedent in the leadership of this country. If at all they succeed in blackmailing and extorting money from Kenyans, then that will be a disgusting spit on the faces of hardworking taxpayers.