The other day, while the rest of Kenya slept, MPs in Kenya awarded themselves a $107,000 retirement bonus in one of the last sessions of parliament before the next elections in March. The two bills passed, with ONLY 30 MPs present, have gone to President Kibaki for signature.
This is the second time MPs have embarked on this shameless act of desperation, and to President Kibaki’s credit, he vetoed the first bill last October. Now his legacy, as he leaves office after his second term, rides on what he does this time around.
This is an act that borders on criminality, especially in light of the fact that the average Kenyan earns $1,700 a year.
Kenyan MPs are the highest paid in Africa, earning $13,000 a month or $156,000 per year. Just imagine: for a country whose national budget largely depends on foreign aid, these pseudo-honorables ought to hang their heads in shame. This thirst for public funds just made Kenya stare ruin in the face.
For the record : Kenya spends 80% on salaries, and ONLY 20% on development. It does not add up.
But, hold on : these jokers did not stop at the cash bonanza, which by the way included a one time 9.3 million shillings cash golden handshake. The MPs also want the following perks: a funeral paid for by the State, a driver for life, diplomatic passports and access to VIP lounges in the country. The benefits for cabinet ministers and other fat cats are too painful to mention here.
What is next, as the nation teeters on the brink of collapse as March elections loom, mainly run on ethnic lines? The future does not look good, and this un-statesmanly conduct by greedy parliamentarians should force Kenyans to take a lesson from the Arab Spring.