Someone argued that the Kenyan middle class is the single most important hindrance to development. I beg to differ. That has to be the Kenyan political class.
We stood, a few years back, braving the sun and rain and hunger to usher in a new political era. We voted pro a new constitution and later on went to watch as the president waved the scroll to the masses. we were happy. We were free. We had saved ourselves. Some even wept.
Kenyans are a most enthused group. We were confident in the new system. We had every intention of letting sleeping dogs lie and moving on towards a new and better Kenya. The courts were working. We had a new Chief Justice who wore a single stud and was as non-partisan as they come. Brand Kenya revamped their effort to sell Kenya as a great investment hub to financiers.
We partied hard. We vetted public servants on live televised interviews. We sent home the assistant CJ who dared pinch the nose of the taxpayer who fed her. We prepared the country for a new system of governance. Majimbo, they called it.
Most of us didn’t understand what the hell it was. All we were informed was that it was like the one used in America(and so its very good), and it meant more power to the people.
To show just how serious our leaders were at listening to the cry of the common mwananchi or mwenyenchi if you like, they set up a body to look into the issue of the salaries of our legislators. To cut it down to ‘normal’ standards . We were quickly being transformed into a democracy.
But, It was not yet Uhuru. We had group of people who were not too happy about it all. The legislators. Seeing that their days were numbered. And that change might be as good as rest for most of them (who wouldn’t make it to the new august house ),They went all out, amending numerous sections of the constitution, changing clauses that didn’t suit them . They lowered educational requirements to accommodate their not-so-learned friends; they indulged their indecisive party hopping habits and even attempted to get a hefty send off package for themselves. They predicted their demise and cried for state burials (which they got! Thanks to one Boniface Mwangi of Kenya ni Kwetu! )
It there was evening, and there was morning, the 50th Year!
We awaited with baited breath for the 4th of March to reach so we could exercise our constitutional right. We commented on face book just how fast and easy it was to electronically register.
We got free t-shirts, and free reflector jackets. We watched live presidential debates on TV, and waited keenly for the poll research firms to show the effect of the debates on each candidate. The media went into a frenzy, reminding us that we are one. We are all children of this great land. That tribes did not matter. That we shouldn’t fight.
They launched manifestos. Shirts arms folded like Obama to show they were a working ruling class . They campaigned alongside their beloved wives, husbands and children. They talked fondly of how being grandparents had transformed them. They promised digital solutions to our analogue third world problems. They embraced nationalism like an invisible cloak. And feigned surprise when asked about tribalism.
The new electoral body banned elections bribery and so they simply went round giving us well-meaning ‘gifts’ and tokens. ‘More will come if you vote for me’ they said. So we voted them back into power. Even thought the VBR Kits, purchased with our hard-earned taxpayers’ money, failed miserably.
Like a cat that had been given another life, they are at us again, meowing and scratching and making disturbing cat sounds. ‘Moooore, we want Moore pay,’ they cry.
Just in case you think this is a request you are mistaken. It is a demand.
Less than a month after they were elected to ‘serve’ the people, they descended with threats of disbanding the Salaries and Remunerations Commission.
They need to get back the campaign money they ‘gifted’ us with. They need to repay the loans. They have mistresses to maintain. They have husbands and children, they have wives…..you just don’t understand. You wouldn’t ……..you are just an ordinary mwananchi with few basic needs, and lots of primitive energy to slaughter pigs with.
A newly elected county Representative argued that if we pay them as little as the Salaries commission recommended, then they would be easy to bribe. Excuse Moi? How much money will make you un-bribable so to say?
Another old legislator complained that now they will have no money to dish out to constituents (someone define for me what a bribe is! ) yet Ipsos Synovate just released a poll showing that very few if any constituents benefit from the heavy pockets of the waheshimiwas.
If you didn’t know, the MPs constitute 1.6% of the Kenyan working class and yet they take up 50% of all salaries paid out monthly. Meaning? The rest of Kenya’s public servants who make up 98.4% i.e teachers, doctors, nurses etc share the remaining 50% amongst themselves. How now?
And I am not talking about allowances, benefits or the 7 million car loan they are entitled to. Just a simple sweet salary.
They have many needs, our MPs. And kshs. 530,000 a month is but peanuts to them.
Per capita income
So, the new rule was, the MPs will be paid according to the countries’ par capital income.
A comparative analysis was done with other countries to establish just how much they should be paid.
France has a per capita income of USD 29,000per annum. Their legislators are paid Kshs. 520,000 salary.
Ghana has a per capita income of USD 1600 per annum, their legislators are paid Kshs 320,000 per annum.
Kenya has a per capita income of USD 1500, our legislators are paid approximately Kshs. 530,000.
Per capita income refers to the average income per head per year in a given country.it can be said that per capita income is national income attributed to one person (per head income.)
Its calculated as follows.
Per capita income= national income
They, Kenyan MP’s are paid more than the French legislators whose Per capital income is over nineteen times more than ours. And yet they goad for more when their pay should be placed below that of Ghana at around Kshs. 300,000.
Paper money and plastic money, that’s the stuff Kenyan Mps, are made of. I dare say.