The 11th Parliament had a false start in 2013 and it has never quite found its foot since. Goofing has become its enduring identity. The high House has put aside legislating on national issues and focused on the personal. Last week, the Eldas Member of Parliament received wide support from his colleagues over a Bill that cushioned MPs from criticism. Additionally there is another ridiculous – Parliamentary Society Bill – Bill that proposes counselling and psychiatry services for MPs who lose elections. All this catered for by tax payers.
Kenyan MPs being among the best paid in the world seems to think that tax payers’ money belong to them, for plunder. MPs have been mischievous with taxpayers’ money like goats in a maize plantation a trait they have taught MCAs.
Psychiatric and counselling services as proposed in the Bill aren’t bad but those aren’t the business of Kenyans. Whether an MP becomes insane because they have lost an election those are their own issues. After all they are becoming insane because of the thoughts of being cut from the supply of “manna and quail” but not for their love of Kenya.
Whether an MP becomes broke or not after his tenure, those are his personal issues. In short let MPs manage their salaries well, save for pension and medical insurance. Taxpayers are not responsible for their financial irresponsibility.
On the issue of Media freedom, Kenya already has so many laws that can be used against a journalist who reports wrong information. The country is not ready for additional laws that cow journalists. Kenyans agree that Parliament must be put under scrutiny and any wrongdoings therein be reported. The attempt of Parliamentarians to create veil of secrecy around the institution of Parliament is subject to suspicion. Parliament is a public institution and they are public officers who should be subject public criticism.
If MPs do not want to be criticized let them leave public offices and go back to their private lives where no one will care about them. But as long as they continue being bankrolled by taxpayers, their actions and inactions are of public interest.
Our current Parliament is on the wrong side of history. Personal and sectarian issues have been dominant. This comes at a time when there are claims of corruption in Parliament and dishonesty in taking mileage claims. When politicians talk about the “national cake”, current MPs take it literally and they are busy eating the cake without minding Wanjiku.
There is still time for Parliamentarians to salvage their legacy and do what is right. For the remaining years they can pay attention to issues of national interest like security, health, education and unemployment just to mention a few. Parliament has the powers to change Kenya if it redefines itself in accordance to post 2010 Kenya tenets. But at the moment 11th Parliament is part of Kenya’s shame.