There seems to be a lot of the absurdity emerging from parliament recently. From MPs defending a 2 billion shilling take home package to be drawn from taxpayers pockets at a time when the country can scarcely afford it (The government is in massive debt, the national deficit is as high as ever, and youth unemployment stands at 65%) to the latest scandal in which Makadara MP, Gideon Mbuvi, is accused of the slapping the Attorney General a matter currently being investigated by Parliament’s Powers and Privilege Committee.
But who is to blame for the state of Parliament, is it the Parliamentarians or the voters?
A few days ago there was an interesting piece in the Daily Nation in which voters were blamed for the decadence that we now see in Parliament and among our Parliamentarians. The kind of decadence that allows MPs despite their egregious behaviour to get away with little or no repercussions to their standing in the house.
The article was titled, “Kenyan MPs not bad boys and girls: it’s voters who actually spoilt them” I wonder how many Kenyan voters would agree with this statement.
The author of the article, Charles Onyango Obbo, posits that Kenyans are getting exactly what they voted for. And that through our voting patterns, we the voters, have created a situation in which the MPs have become a more important constituent in the election then the regular voter. Making the 222 MPs more influential in an election than 40 million voters. The consequence is that presidential candidates are afraid to speak to the excesses of their fellow parliamentarians for fear alienating them and losing the potential votes from the MPs region and area of influence. This makes it preferable for presidential candidates to seek approval of parliamentarians rather than the approval of voters.
In our elections which are determined by a majority vote it follows that the votes 40 million + voters should hold more sway than that of 222 MPs and that the wishes of millions should out weigh the demands of 222 MPs. However voting along regional and tribal lines, instead of on issues and values creates a situation in which MPs are at a premium because of their ability to pull votes based on their ethnic affiliation or regional.
Are Kenyan voters through their voting patterns, to blame for the current state of Parliament?