Out of the frying pan and into the fire....meet the best paid politicians

So Kenyans took their political leaders (Members of Parliament) to task a while back demanding that they pay taxes like every other working Kenyan citizen. I was taken aback by the audacity of politicians to blatantly and publicly reject the citizen’s demands. The speaker was quoted saying that those members feeling “sufficiently philanthropic” can pay taxes; otherwise it will not be a requirement. I had to google information on how Members of Parliament are pointed in Kenya. Are they elected by the citizens to serve, or do they decent from the skies on some form of ethereal cloud, complete with a halo?

Now a few months down the line, they seem to have a change of heart (that is what they would have Kenyans believe). The tribunal appointed by the Parliamentary Service Commission to Review and Make Recommendations on the Terms and Conditions of Service for Members and Staff of the National Assembly seems to have yielded to the peoples demand, but it gets better, they are giving members of parliament a pay raise.  The tribunal proposes an increase in Mps salaries from ksh 851,000 to ksh 1,090,000 per month. They will be required to pay taxes to the tune of Sh227, 861. The raise is enough to cover their taxes and gives them an extra ksh 12,000 per month.

Forgive my ignorance, but the last time I checked Kenya was a developing country, or did I miss the continental memo? The global economic crisis?Talk about moving from worse to worse. Words fail me today! Here is how a BBC online article articulates the politicians reaction:

"The Daily Nation newspaper reported that one MP described the pay-increase as "a move towards restoring honour to the profession of politics".
One politician was quoted as saying that the amount of money paid to MPs could not compensate "for the heavy responsibility they shoulder in the economic, political and social development of the country".
It also quoted an assistant minister as trying to dismiss criticism of the vote by saying:
"If you feel MPs are being paid heftily, join parliament. [And if you are in parliament] if you feel you have enough, give a chance to your colleagues."
An editorial in the Standard newspaper argued that Kenyans might be able to stomach the huge numbers involved if it meant the selfless delivery of services and an end to corruption."
                                                                                                                                       (my emphasis)*

I am yet to hear one political leader who has accepted responsibility for the post election violence that held Kenya hostage  late 2007 - early 2008, and humbly accepts the consequences of their actions. The loss of lives, homes and property. I am yet to hear one homeless Kenya member of parliament who lived in the IDP following the post election violence.  

If they are really the kind of leaders Africa needs they should unanimously reject this recommendation.


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