Gone are the days when getting a parliamentary seat came with a promising state of acquired wealth. Politics, in particular, is not as beneficial and lucrative today as it was long ago. Well, at least not for most of the Kenyan MPs who are supposedly languishing in poverty. What happened to the big salaries? Is it that they don’t know how to invest? Is it only the MPs who are facing financial instability problems? This and many other questions may probably be lingering in your mind. This article will shed light on the life of the Kenyan lawmakers.
The fate of the retired Kenyan MPs
Just recently, a parliamentary pension’s bill was passed in efforts to cushion retired MPs. The bill saw MPs who served two terms earn Ksh. 100,000 monthly. An amount that has left many Kenyans unable to fathom why our Kenyan MPs require that kind of money. It’s the taxpayer who will suffer most. The bill is waiting for presidential permission to be accepted as law. MPs are eagerly waiting for this proposed money to free them from the financial crisis they are facing.
How is it that MPs end up bankrupt?
Shinyalu MP Justus Kizito gives a breakdown of how tiring and overbearing it can be to serve as an MP in Kenya. He discloses how being in such a significant position comes with unwarranted responsibilities. Contributions to various events, ranging from burials to weddings, can overwhelm, especially if there is numerous these events. The more the events, the more the money, and the less the salary.
What about the one million gross salaries they receive? One would ask. The chairman of KETRACO, engineer James Rege, who served as Karachuonyo MP for two terms, gives a breakdown of this money. He provides a personal experience of how his salary as an MP went back to his community. This is through contributions made to funerals, fundraising, and many other events—an amount of roughly Ksh. 600,000 catered for burials in a month. There are also Harambees, where he would give a Ksh. 50,000 contributions to every fundraising organized, and they were many. Not to mention other special and touching constituents that needed immediate monetary attention. Summed up, this amount he spent on his people would be thrice as much as he earns as an MP’s salary. Sometimes he would go to the extent of digging deeper into his pockets to serve his people.
MPs properties auctioned
The retired MPs are not the only ones facing financial problems. Incumbents like Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria is facing an auction of over Ksh. 7.25 million. All from a rent arrear that dates back to the year 2018 in January. And he is not alone. Vihiga senator George Khaniri has had his property, which resides in Donholm phase 8, a residential block of flats, auctioned for 7 million loans.
It is a saddening reality in which most MPs have survived on overdrafts. Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma explains how it is not surprising to find some MPs living along river road today. The situation has gone further to prompt MPs to lute money in the CDF kitties set aside for their very own people.
Kaluma narrates how he also encountered three MPs sharing an SQ fitted with double-decker beds. An ordeal he found embarrassing for an MP. The situation has gone further to affect their social lives. An MP cannot comfortably go to a public bar. This is to avoid unforeseen bills that they pay owing to their prestigious status in the country.
The legislator blatantly states that if the government were to offer accommodation for its MPs, most would opt to live there. Well, let us wait and see if the proposed bill will be passed as a law, and maybe it will heal our MPs’ financial health.