Saturday, 30 November 2013

We are over represented!

If Machakos County is anything to go by then we surely don’t need Members of the County Assembly. Governor Alfred Mutua is certainly on the right track and has devoted much time and energy in reviving the County with several significant gains, despite the MCAs adjourning their sittings indefinitely in September to push for a higher pay. If he achieved all that while they absconded duty, imagine how much more he can achieve if we relieved him of the burden of dealing with them?

The MCAs have followed the same script perpetrated by the National Assembly and that is to demand a higher pay immediately they were sworn in. The deal they have currently arm twisted the Salaries and Remuneration Commission into giving them now stands at an increment of 56.3%.

Just imagine working for only 5 months and getting a pay rise of 56.3%. MCAs will now have a minimum take home pay of 293,078 kshs per month. It is noteworthy that this increment is still yet to satisfy the MCAs who are still opposed to a return to work formula.

I am really curious as to why we feel the need to over pay or even pay politicians who refuse to work. Yes, over pay. Thus far, the MCAs have very little to show for their input in the devolution process altogether. Earlier this year, the same Sarah Serem team agreed to hike the pay for Members of Parliament; 8 months down the road and they have passed several questionable bills with only a minority quorum. Some MPs have been living in The Hague since September, a fact that is underscored by reports that they have even taken over a bar where they spend their evenings feasting, drinking and singing!

The biggest failing of our society is the belief that equal representation means more representatives. We imagine that without a political class we cannot even have devolution of resources. But it is clear that these politicians are keen to subvert the devolution process in order to personally benefit. 

In a country of 42 million people and a GDP of only 34.6 billion$ we have decided to be represented by 47 governors, 47 senators, 349 MPs and 1450 county representatives. That’s 1893 politicians, all of whom demand nearly 100 times the wages of the average Kenyans at the very least. 

What really is the point of such a bloated government? Already they have proven themselves quite useless because many of them have not been attending assembly sessions anyway! The irony of the MPs to then turn around and claim that we indeed have a high wage bill after they managed to hike their own pay is just laughable. 

Meanwhile, the people who actually deliver services remain harassed and dejected as these same government officials refuse to honor the various Collective Bargaining Agreements struck by the National government prior to devolution. The most disheartening claims continue to spew forth against health care workers in particular, of whom the County officials insist that they do not wish to be supervised.

Why should a politician who favors absenteeism as a work ethic supervise a health practitioner? Do these MCAs know ANYTHING about providing health care? How exactly are they going to supervise the hospitals and clinics when they have not a single clue on public health management?
In fact, why should politicians who refuse to work themselves, turn around and claim supervision on healthcare workers who diligently turn up at work despite the difficult conditions and dire lack of resources. It is quite ridiculous!

This is testament to how misplaced our priorities are as a nation. Instead of increasing the number of doctors in the country we increased the number of politicians. I am yet to see a politician work a normal 9-5 shift, let alone the hectic 80 hour work week that our doctors endure under the most stressful conditions.

2300 doctors serve 42 million Kenyans and are paid less than half of what the MCAs have been offered. They do their best to keep a nearly dead health sector running, and the situation is so serious that should a poor person who relies on government facilities be diagnosed with cancer today, he will have to wait 9 months for his first radiation session because the waiting list is so long. On average, simple surgeries that can easily be conducted have waiting periods of a minimum of 6 months. The sum total of this is that the average Kenyan is dying from simple, treatable and preventable disease.

I don’t see any politician having a waiting list of people whose lives he can save! We certainly don’t need to pay people for doing absolutely nothing all day at The Hague and just drinking and singing in the evenings. One recent photo of an MP trying to catch a pigeon at The ICC tells it all – we are spending our hard earned taxes on the kookiest characters whose value is to hunt birds in foreign countries. If he was trying to catch a turkey I might have understood, but nobody eats pigeons!

We are over taxed and completely burdened by this lot. Just a handful of people who really have no work ethic are costing this country much of its revenue and it is a terrible situation. As a nation, we need to seriously consider curbing the number of political representatives to a bare minimum. I dare say it’s obvious that the Counties are running without them anyway!


  1. Sometimes I fear that it will take something extremely violent to shake us out of this "mheshimiwa trance".

  2. The health care system is in shambles. Doctors will soon start fleeing this rotting system in drones due to the 'devolution' of healthcare. Healthcare is an ESSENTIAL service, so let's see the MCA done their lab coats and stethoscopes to attend to patients when the inevitable happens.