Kenyans are despondent from corruption and high cost of living but MPs are more worried about their toilet sit, literally! They’re unimpressed with the kind of services they get while at the Parliament bar and the state of food in their cafeteria.
Nothing demonstrates the callousness of our lawmakers than attempting to review upwards their salaries at a time the government is seeking austerity measures due to a ballooning wage bill. Counties are laying people off in their hundreds but our representatives in Parliament are completely out of touch. Never mind, their salary is the best in the region and remain some of the best paid MPs in the world.
When it became clear Facebook was somewhat irresponsible with the data of its users, the US Congress summoned the CEO and Founder, Mark Zuckerberg and grilled him over his involvement with Cambridge Analytica – the now defunct data mining firm responsible for driving ethnic and hate messages that also affected us in the last general elections.
Mark Zuckerberg is the 5th richest person in the world and while others argued those grilling him had little information on how the internet actually works, hence allowed him to bounce back-probably even helped his public image; it doesn’t negate the fact that even the mighty can be made to live by the law when those charged with the duty of making those laws and representing the people take their jobs seriously.
Facebook courtesy of this grilling has since offered to have clearer disclosures to the public about how it uses data of its users. In addition big data companies like Google offered many users opportunity to download all the data it had on them and decide how long they wished that data to be kept to avoid falling on the wrong side of the law.
And though the press and the Parliamentary grilling forced Cambridge Analytica to close business, the chair of a UK parliament committee investigating the firm’s activities was able to read mischief in the timing of closure saying the investigations should not be stopped by the closure. These are not perfect examples but it shows the difference MPs can make when they choose to take their job seriously.
The story back home is quite sad. The government refused to admit its involvement with Cambridge Analytica despite the evidence as revealed in an undercover story by Channel4 news. Consequently, when Parliament got around to debating the Cyber Crimes Bill a few weeks ago, it failed to focus on the data mining activities by firms hired on behalf of politicians that led to fake news and the death of Kenyans at the hand of their government.
Instead MPs wowed each other with stories about people sending them pornography and breaking their families and those conning them of money.
And those MPs who are allergic to accountability took the opportunity to attack Mzalendo for putting up their details on the site. It turned out the fellow conning them was actually someone some of them knew and had interacted with. While lawmakers in the EU and Canada are approving important legislation on data like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that’s making Facebook, Google and other big data firms more careful with how they use data for people in the EU, UK and Canada here they regale each other with stories of a conman.
For people who can’t wait to attend a public function, burial or Church to talk about another politician; it feels as though we expect too much from people who are too simple minded. It was US former First Lady and possibly one of the most powerful political figures to have ever occupied that office who said, “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” Our MPs hardly talk about ideas, it’s always that politician from that tribe that wants to do this and prevent them or their person from doing this or that.
This year alone we’ve had at least five huge economic scandals and our MPs are as clue-less as the public. MPs from Western region who should take the sugar saga seriously considering the many people they represent who have been shortchanged by these dumping of over 1billion Kg of the product in the market are busy talking 2022 politics as Cabinet Secretaries continue giving contradicting statements.
People are losing livelihoods cutting down their sugarcane and planting other foodstuff because they can’t compete with the unhealthy competition but our MPs are all unanimous in demanding for five-star Chefs. It’s unbelievable the people Wanjiku elects to represent them.
We made our bed so we either lie on it and wait for 2022 and hopefully think through this process or we say enough is enough! And recall those who are not advancing our interests.