By JUMA KWAYERA
The message in the graffiti that has arrested the interest of Nairobi residents is gripping: the Kenyan MPs are compared to a vulture that bleeds the weak to death and feeds on their corpses.
The unflattering verdict on the Tenth Parliament thus sums up the publicâs low opinion of an institution increasingly being viewed as the rotor that runs the vice, which has been gnawing away at the promise of prosperous future.
Such is the dim view of parliamentarians, who crave self-indulgence as majority of impoverished Kenyans die of hunger and abject poverty as the representatives in the August House revel in opulence.
In the court of public opinion, the apathy toward Constitution implementation and partisan interests in the appointment of public office holders point to a House entangled in graft, only working hard to make it a more intricate web.
The perceptions notwithstanding, MPs say they are not aware of the existence or perpetuation of economic crimes through Parliament, notwithstanding revelations the cost of the refurbishment of Parliament having been inflated from Sh800 million to Sh1.2 billion and the allegations of some MPs having been induced to defeat censure Motions against certain cabinet ministers.
There have been high profile graft allegations Parliament has in the past suspiciously dispended with. They include Charterhouse Bank money laundering allegations in which questions were raised about the finance committee, the report on sale of Grand (now Laico) Regency Hotel has never been made public and censure Motions against Eldoret North MP William Ruto (then Agriculture minister) and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta raised eyebrows about the conduct of Parliament.
During the recent appointment of judiciary officials, Gwasi MP John Mbadi sensationally alleged some members of the Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee received Sh15 million to clear candidates.
The latest is the recent debate on the report on depreciation of the Kenyan shilling against international currencies. Parliament inexplicably edited out portions on the role of the Central Bank of Kenya Governor. In all, the number of incidents in which MPs â collectively or individually â are accused of perpetuating or covering up graft and their denial thereof casts Parliament as a brotherhood.
From interviews with multiple MPs, the brotherhood or cult, the constant response is: "I donât know anything; there is no evidence."
It is against this backdrop that questions are being raised about the powers of the Speaker, who chairs the Powers and Privileges Committee, to uphold the positive image of Parliament.