Friday, December 28, 2007

Who's your next MP?

I have met a few MP's, watched several live debates in the last parliament, and lot's of TV over the last five years. What is shocking to me is how different an MP that you know is – almost a two-faced person who's a serious level-headed professional debater in private who schmoozes the private sector and donors in person, and yet gets on TV at a rally and talks like a Neanderthal, insulting opponents from far flung places around the country.

The MP's in the outing parliament who impressed me (yet I don't know any of them personally ) - are people who were always in parliament, debating and active in legislative matters – these include Maoka Maore, Justin Muturi, Martha Karua, Njoki Ndungu, Wafula Wamunyinyi to name a few.

Yet many of them will not be back next March. For every professional i.e banker, farmer, stockbroker, accountant, IT specialist or other professional like Jonathan Mueke who take a first time plunge to make a difference, there are other perennial candidates that they have to run against – and however Jonathan turns out, he's likely to be better than several other candidates who include folk like;

Current MP's: best illustrated with quotes from Joseph Kamotho and Norman Nyagah who after losing party nominations and defecting to new parties - said I must be on the ballot and my constituents love me and I must reciprocate that by continuing to serve them.

ex-MP who feel the cold of being out of parliament. But like a gambler the morning after a big-loss night out, they think they know what they did wrong, set about scraping resources to make another lucky run the next night at the casino of parliament. In real life, they still call themselves 'honorable,' watch their dwindling money, as they maintain political and social networks ready for a comeback. And if asked, they are always ready to deny that they are interested in returning to parliament, but the lure is too easy and they are a sure bit to be in the 'right party' come election time.

Grey MP's: not Grey in age, but these are people who have some blemished reputations – running from dubious financial escapades at Kenya Posts & telecommunications, health care sector, Goldenberg, road construction, public service, collapsed banks, etc. – who go to parliament where they will work to influence the the Public Investments (PIC) or public accounts (PAC) committees (from within) who investigate 5 year old scandals. They are well funded, know how to play (dirty) tricks, and buy their way into cash hungry political parties - since going into politics after a scandal ridden period provides a re-birth of sorts that legitimizes someone who perhaps should be a defendant, not a 'honorable MP'

And once a professional gets to parliament does it matter how they perform as legislators? Maore, Muturi, and Muriuki Karue (who introduced the game changing constituency development fund scheme in 2003) have been voted out of parliament by their constituents this year. The CDF was a good measure of how MP's handled public money as a measure of how an outgoing MP has performed, but I'm sure there are hardworking development minded MP's (e.g. Tuju) who will be voted out for reasons other than addressing and improving the welfare of their constituents.

So by what measure, should we judge our parliamentarians? Many are judged by the handouts they give or how many constituents they can stuff into the bloated government workforce over the five years they are in office. It is wrong, but until the expectations of constituents change, we will remain stuck with the same old folks. Or, as the 2002 - 2007 period showed, you may vote in new cheetah's but they will be old hippos that the same constituents will happily vote out & cheer away five years later.

Random post election questions
- does a president who loses an election remain eligible for the handsome 2002 presidential retirement package if he remains in active politics?
- how many bank loans are likely to be recalled or go bad, given the high number of MP's (likely to be 50%) thrown out by constituents this week?

7 comments:

Mwangaza said...

Well Bankelele, I guess when it comes to power, we all shed our morals, our real us and the animals in us prevail. Its the same here in europe - although the voters watch out a little and punish those who go beyond the belt line.
In any case my hope is that we mature as we grow up, an our democracy is growing up. Where else in the world do over 20 sitting ministers lose their parliamentary seats!
My hope is thatwhoever comes to power, the tenure will be to serve and develop Kenya.
A personal question: I am an IT Specialist (SAP Consultant with vast Data Warehousing experience) and am looking at prospects of returning back hiome. Would you may be know what would be the salary range I can expect if I were to look for a job? My idea is to actually create jobs by setting mself up, but I am sure need at leat a year as an employee to cater for my bills as as I explore the opportunities in the country and build up a network (amost no contacts after being away for too long!)

kamau said...

I am starting to think that our MPs/aspirants don’t trust the intelligence and judgment of their constituents. Its for this reason that issues have been trounced by tribalism, larceny and thugery. Its all very sad because I believe that both sides would have been able to make their arguments without taking us to this really low point. These elections have taken us down a path that I am afraid it will take us a a very long time to recover from.

Adrian said...

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kamau said...

mwangaza I am a data warehouse/BI speicalist also who has been looking into the same idea. Wew should talk knjenga@excite.com

coldtusker said...

Mwangaza - Erm, you might want to hold off for now... Kenya is a wee unstable with the apparent rigging that has gone on...

Rumours have it that Raila has been arrested together with other members of ODM's "pentagon".

Sad day for Kenya when we are going back to being a police state.

J. Korir said...

People are ready and willing to die, if thats what it takes to save this country from the elitist vote riggers. There is no way out of this one. Kenyans are not peaceful because they are dumb and stupid. We are peaceful because we understand our limits and are willing to fight for our rights. Someone just rattled the wrong snake.

Anonymous said...

ask yourself which people are dying my friend.

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