Considering the size of Kenya’s economy, our politicians are massively over-paid. I have read articles in the past about certain rich countries where their MPs are paid salaries not much different from other middle income government workers like teachers, doctors, and nurses - some MPs even commute via the train or ride bicycles to work.
If countries far much richer than Kenya can have politicians living far less luxurious lives than Kenyan politicians, what is the problem with Kenya?
The problem in Kenya is not just the politicians. Most Kenyans are to blame for the current huge remuneration of politicians. The average Kenyan expects their MPs to live in Lavington, Muthaiga, Karen etc. (where average houses cost more than Ksh 40 Million).
Now, let us do the math.
Without allowances, an MP earns between 500K - 1 Million per month. 500K * 12 = 6 Million. 6 * 5 = 30 Million. An MP has family and other expenditures to take care of.
Therefore, if a Kenyan expects his MP to own a 50 million house (from his income as MP), he must expect him to steal from the public via dubious allowances, CDF etc.
However, if Kenyans still respect their MPs (and former MPs) even if they live in Dandora, Githurai or Kawangware, then that will reduce MPs’ need for high salaries and allowances.
Ideally, if all Kenyans were patriotic and cared for the common good, it would be possible to have the highest paid public servant (President) earning 300K per month, with the lowest paid public servants (cleaners, messengers etc.) earning a minimum of 50K per month.
Unfortunately, the Kenyan who complains about high salaries of senior public servants and politicians, is the same Kenyan who will ridicule those senior public servants and politicians if they appear not to have a lot of wealth (i.e. are not thieves of public funds).
This also applies to retired senior public servants and politicians. I have seen very many posts online over the years, with Kenyans ridiculing retired senior public servants and politicians for being “poor”.
Every time I read such articles, I feel really disgusted. Don’t Kenyans who make fun of retired senior public servants and politicians for being “poor” realise that they are encouraging current senior public servants and politicians to steal as much as they can, so they are not ridiculed for being “poor” when they retire?
Personally, every time I read about retired senior public servants and politicians who are living within their means (non-extravagant lifestyles), I respect them a lot. If someone must make fun of retired senior public servants and politicians who are “struggling”, then limit the ridicule to those that were CORRUPT when they were at the top.
In rich established democracies, when an MP tells his constituents: “tomorrow I will be at Hotel X for coffee, please join me for a chat”, nobody goes there expecting the MP to pay his bills, or “give him something as a sign of appreciation”.
What about Kenya? Every Kenyan knows about this.
Therefore, if Kenyans expect politicians to have “financial responsibility”, Mwananchi must also not expect handouts from the politicians.
CONCLUSION: If Kenyans are ready to respect senior public servants and politicians who drive themselves to work in a Probox or a Vitz, then they have a right to demand that the highest paid public servant/politician MUST NOT earn more than 300K per month.
Any organisation/media willing to engage in this kind of civic education?
Discussion about the almost-news events.
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