We must tame Parliament’s greed to ease the burden on taxpayers

It seems Kenyan MPs are unstoppable. Their appetite for higher perks and luxuries is insatiable, but it must now be contained, lest they plunge this country into an abyss of unbridled greed. In their latest move, the MPs have outwitted the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and it seems that in the foreseeable future, nothing stands between them and their bid to raise their income. Although the majority of Kenyans view the MPs’ quest for more money as morally wrong, the Court of Appeal has rejected a move by SRC to suspend the new perks which they had described as illegal.

Consequently, the taxpayers are the losers as they continue to fork out an additional Sh8 billion which will be required annually for the MPs’ allowances. The lawmakers argue that they are underpaid and are entitled to be paid like their counterparts in USA, United Kingdom, Singapore, Canada, New Zealand and India.

It is laughable for any Kenyan MP to compare Kenya or its economy to those of powerhouses such USA or Canada. Even in Africa, Kenya cannot compare itself with South Africa whose economy is far more robust and healthier. It is appalling that at a time when economic growth seems to have stagnated, with businesses closing and masses suffering spiraling inflation, the legislators want to their salaries and allowances enhanced. There appears to be an onslaught against the taxpayer where policies and taxes are making their lives miserable, but the MPs have not raised a voice.

Instead of raising their voices against a ban on importation of second hand cars or implementing policies which will promote economic growth, or even pass laws which make it impossible for rich operatives in government and private sector to loot public coffers, all the MPs can think of is lining their pockets.

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Their silence, as Kenya Revenue Authority officers entrusted with tax-collection conspire to steal the money, is telling. In the past, whenever MPs speak about corruption, their voices have been unhelpful for they come out to defend their friends and politicise the fight against graft. Enough is enough. ?

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