News this past week showed the epitome of arrogance and self-centeredness that leaders in this country have with money being at the center of it. A few days after the stormy meeting between Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu and Senate Public Accounts Committee, Kenyans certainly weren’t ready for the revelations of MPs pocketing Sh 250,000 in monthly house allowance.
What shocked most Kenyans is that MPs have been secretly taking a quarter of a million home since August last year and the Speaker of the National Assembly defended this move. If one multiplies this figure to the 416 representatives, they’d easily go over the edge considering how tough the economy is currently.
It appears the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) resolved to pay out this allowance despite opposition from the National Treasury and Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC). This decision stinks of illegality the SRC was not involved yet it is mandated with setting and reviewing the remuneration and benefits of all State Officers as stated in Article 230 (4) (a) of the Constitution. The blatant disregard of the law proves the lengths that MPs are willing to go in order to serve their own interests.
However, what’s more disappointing is that not a single MP has come forward to reject this allowance proving that leaders in this country are cut from the same cloth. They love deluding themselves claiming to be people’s servants while they’re quick to push agendas that only benefit them. For a house that has the responsibility for oversight, this move not only erodes any integrity left but denies them any moral authority to question the actions of those who have misappropriated funds at the county level.
Even Biblically, man has been warned against being quick to see the fault in another person before addressing the flaws in themselves, as said in Matthew 7:3-5. Doesn’t it therefore put the Senate in an awkward position when they probe Governors over graft claims yet they award themselves more allowances at the expense of an overstretched taxpayer?
Worth-noting, however, is the apparent inability of the SRC to tame MPs’ money-hungry behavior as previous recommendations to reduce the wage bill have been met with a lot of resistance. The independence of the commission is questionable as the MPs wield significant influence over it since they have a say in its composition and funding. Then who can Kenyans rely on to fight for them in this tough economy if government agencies are being rendered helpless?
We live in very interesting times, as government has been claiming it will out in place austerity measures but billions still keep disappearing finding their way in the wrong hands. When shall we have leaders of integrity? When shall we see a crop of men and women whose sole purpose is to serve and improve the lives of those around them? As at now, we are on our own, and we need to look deep within to make better-informed choices to avoid a repeat of such incidents. Maybe then we can have a shot at shaping the future of this nation as opposed to leaving it in the hands of a few.