Saturday, 1 June 2013

FINE. Let’s Pay MPs – with Bangla-Pesa!

By the time someone pays a hefty amount like 100,000 kshs for political nominations, it’s assumed that they know exactly what they are doing and understand the civic seat, duties and responsibilities. Our 11th parliament has not only shocked us with their ridiculous demands for more pay, they are now claiming that they can reduce the President’s pay by 57%.

Let’s laugh for a minute. Uhuru Kenyatta has been rated by Forbes as one of the richest men in Africa. Would a man thought to have a personal fortune of 50 billion US dollars REALLY notice a pay cut from his civil service job? Do it, see if he cares!

More telling, is the fact that this parliament seems to believe that they are in charge of the country and whatever they want they can do since they pass laws. They seem to believe that parliament is the most powerful arm of government, capable of bullying The Executive and The Judiciary alike.

It’s a perversion of democracy, and a perversion of the role of legislators. Mark you, they are not particularly wrong about their extensive powers as mandated by our constitution; we did indeed hand over the power to implement the tenets of the Supreme law to them. However, their purpose as intended in the constitution was to represent the will of the people as vested in them as our representatives, a fact that has eluded the likes of Mithika Linturi entirely.

It’s a wresting of our sovereign power from us as a people, such that parliament can make unconstitutional motions to disband the Salaries and Remunerations commission simply because they want more money. It tickled me to no end when the High Court ordered an injunction to stop MPs from receiving higher remunerations than that set out by the SRC, a decisive blow to 349 unworthy fellows who thus far have spent the past two months doing little more than talk about their pay.

The fact that MPs can even make declarations on the President’s pay simply because their own pay is “small” (according to them) is telling of how miniscule their understanding of their roles and LIMITED powers.

Some even bantered back claiming that they do indeed have great powers, “ask PLO Lumumba”. 

Here is the thing. This is a new dispensation, and the sooner they realize it the better for them to be capable of executing their mandate. The idea that simply because we voted for them we should accept whatever nonsense they cook up on the house floor is totally absurd. We already had a rogue parliament in the 10th Assembly; we certainly shall not entertain these super-rogues.

Parliament is limited, by law, from creating whatever laws they desire – the notion is sheer barbarism in the first place! Nor can parliament constitutionally interfere with the constitutionally formed bodies of this country; we certainly cannot have a handful of people rewrite the fabric of our society just to suit them.

It seems the reality of Kenya being a poor, 3rd world nation escapes these fellows. The fact that they are NOT lords over their people seems to elude them even further; this is a rather arrogant lot of delusional people who imagine that sovereignty means that they are each sovereigns!

But, let us assume we should indulge these faux lords; what indeed would we use to pay them, seeing as already, 50% of government revenue goes to serve a miserable 1% of the population? I think that if an economy is forced to fork over revenues to people simply because they draft and pass bills into laws, then that economy should use a currency befitting the work and output of those legislators.

Let’s give in to the MPs demands and pay them with Bangla-pesa. Bangla-pesa is a form of promissory notes used in the Bangaldesh Slum of Mombasa. The actual value of Bangla-pesa is in its trading potential within the slum and it can be liquidated later for real Kenyan currency.

Seeing as this is a poor nation, with over 50% living below the poverty line, and with 349 individuals who wish to trade their ability to talk endlessly and nonsensically on the floor of parliament with hard currency that we surely cannot afford to pay, I say that we should pay them the exact value of their hot air with promissory notes that later, much, MUCH later, maybe even in 2030 when the nation’s vision to be industrialized is hopeful matured, and their "promises" realized, they can then cash in.

I for one truly believe that every single statement that some of these MPs have made in the public forum and in parliament is not worth the paper Bangla-pesa is printed on, but I am willing to give them pseudo money for their pseudo legislation nonetheless. I try to be fair, fake money, for fake legislation, Quid pro quo. If they had passed a single bill in the interests of the people of Kenya, we would have even considered upgrading their payment to monopoly money, a currency known worldwide.

Till then, we need to use money that is only recognized in a slum economy. It would indeed be fit their stature to have to shop and live within a slum by the way, given what slumlords they purport to be.

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