alexa MPs' wasteful trip to US boggles the mind - Daily Nation

MPs' wasteful trip to US boggles the mind

Thursday August 8 2019

MICHAEL CHERAMBOS
By MICHAEL CHERAMBOS
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They are at it again.

They have taken another millions of shillings of our money to go and listen to the melodious voice of American singer-songwriter Dolly Parton.

Eighty-five of the people we elected to the various offices to find ways of making our lives better are in the United States listening to some cool country music at our expense.

They will be there for seven days sleeping in high end hotels and eating five-star food.

Back at home, 18-month Jeptoo Cherutich’s skin is fast peeling off at Kabarnet’s Sunrise Children’s Home. She is hungry, malnourished and dithering between life and death as our MPs waste away millions of her parents’ money listening to Dolly Parton in Tennesse!

Cherutich has nothing to eat. She cannot afford a decent meal and her picture was on one the country’s leading national newspapers’ front page early this week crying out for help!

Reports indicate that our Parliament -  both Senate and National Assembly -  is spending tens of millions of shillings this week to pay for the flights and accommodation of a delegation of 85 legislators and members of staff to the US to attend a legislative assembly.

Though there may be something positive about the meeting, it is disgusting that Kenya has chosen the highest delegation by far.

At 85, the country has facilitated more than four times more delegates to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) in Nashville, Tennessee, than its closest counterpart.

The other country that is rivalling it in the size of the delegation is Nigeria, which has flown 20 legislators. Both Speakers of the two branches of the august House - National Assembly’s Justin Muturi and Senate’s Kenneth Lusaka - are leading from the front in the gravy train to the land of opportunity.

Other countries attending the conference are represented by between one and six delegates.

The cost of the trip to the Kenyan taxpayer, we are told, is nearly Sh100 million. Muturi and Lusaka are being paid about Sh75,000 each as daily subsistence allowance. The MPs are munching Sh65,000 each while MCAs on the trip pocket Sh42,600 a piece every day. They flew to the US on business class tickets that cost about Sh587,000 each. We hear an average hotel room in Nashville goes for Sh30,000. Other than the legislators, the Kenyan delegation also included a number of their personal assistants.

Most of the members of the Kenyan delegation are said to have arrived in the US last weekend and will leave next weekend, the media reports indicate.

Dolly Parton is one of the speakers at the conference.

Even as ODM Leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga described Parliament’s behaviour as shameful misuse of power, Kenyans are not only disappointed but not surprised by the insensitive and raw selfishness of their representatives.

The MPs are the epitome of greed and would not hesitate to grab an opportunity to make the country poorer.

They are always looking for ways of scooping money from the public purse. It is not so long the honourable members of the august House decided to appropriate themselves a quarter-a-million shillings more a month each and baptised it house allowance and backdated it over ten months. They then sat with themselves and decided they should be paid for being alive at night. They apportioned themselves thousands of shillings in what they called night allowance.

Our MPs are among the most highly paid legislators in the world. The ordinary Kenyan is among the poorest.  An MP gets over Sh1 million a month salary, he has a Sh20 million mortgage facility at a low three percent interest rate, besides the house allowance, an official car grant of Sh5 million and a personal car loan of Sh7 million also at three per cent interest. He also takes a sitting allowance every time he attends a parliamentary session and draws a mileage allowance and a responsibility allowance.

The common Kenyan who toils from morning to night can only dream that Ms Parton sings to the MPs the evil of just taking and not giving anything back.

If she doesn’t, here are a few lines from her hit 9 to 5 for our leaders.

Workin' 9 to 5, what a way to make a livin'

Barely gettin' by, it's all takin' and no givin'

They just use your mind and they never give you credit

It's enough to drive you crazy if you let it

Yeah they got you where they want you

It's a rich man's game no matter what they call it

And you spend your life puttin' money in his wallet

9 to 5.

Michael Cherambos comments on topical issues. [email protected]

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