The brigands have gone home but problem is, we'll pick another lot

UDA allied MPs chant at the Parliament buildings after the sitting was adjourned on January 25, 2022. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

On Thursday, Kenya’s biggest criminal enterprise which has been operating since August 31, 2017, closed shop.

Were it not for the constitutional timelines, this cabal of 416 brigands and charlatans would have continued with their nefarious activities.

Immediately they entered the House, they started on their mission of raiding the pockets of Kenyans whom they had promised the moon, the sun and the stars, when they knew they would not even make an attempt to deliver a piece of the clouds.

Their aim, and that became clearer every day, was to ensure that the people who voted them into office lived in penury, while their wallets and bank accounts kept bulging.

Truth be said, even during the darkest days when Kenya was experiencing the worst form of governance, life and the economy, things never got as bad as they did during the last four-and-a-half years.

Oh, sorry. We are talking about the 12th Parliament which sat for the last time on Thursday after failing to change the lives of Kenyans for the better, only wasting our taxes and stealing what they could not waste.

There is virtually nothing good that can be said about the 12th Parliament as far as their job description is concerned. They failed totally, and even if it were to be said that they did their core duty of legislating, the laws they passed made lives of Kenyans worse.

Corruption has always existed in Kenya, and from the 1960s, successive administrations have sworn to eliminate it and they failed, but in the past four-and-a-half years, it rose to higher levels than has been witnessed in Kenya’s recent history.

The 12th Parliament can easily pass as the most corrupt, in the wider sense of the word, ever since Independence. Passing laws that only made the lives of Kenyans harder, and then turning around to cry over the same laws later after defending them both in and out of the House, can only be done by people who are corrupt.

They knew the laws were not helpful, but passed them all the same, and got paid for the duration they were in the Chamber defending their choices and chest-thumping. That is corruption.

As was pointed out in our editorial on Friday, their loyalties were divided between the President and the Deputy President while outside the Chambers, but inside, they were one cohesive unit with a mission to plunder.

This was more evident when they were fighting for higher allowances and perks; a time when they would gang up to fleece Kenyans and feel no shame of guilt about it.

They spent so much, and whatever they did can only be described as criminal, for it was plain thievery of public coffers.

Data from the Controller of Budget, for instance, showed that from March to June 2021, MPs spent Sh703.1 million on foreign trips, and it was flagged as the highest quarterly spending since 2013, when Kenya started making public money spent on travel.

It was noted that the amount they spent on air tickets, accommodation and allowances rose 14 times from the Sh49.87 million spent on foreign trips in the quarter to March.

Were these trips necessary? They’ll definitely say they were because they were out there to benchmark, and that includes how to legislate and play their oversight role effectively.

But did anything helpful come out of them? Nope. Just pain. Because the aim was to pocket more allowances in any form and when the foreign trips were not coming their way, they would travel locally, and claim allowances.

All trips were just income-generating ventures for them and a way for boosting their pay.

One more thing that the 12th Parliament did was making the Executive part of the Legislature. It surrendered its autonomy to the Executive which could dictate how they legislated, something that even during the single-party days, was a rarity. Talk about meek thieves.

These 416 members — 349 from the National Assembly and 67 from the Senate — are leaving behind an economy in tatters, to hit the campaign trail, and give more promises and pass the blame for the poor state of affairs.

They had all the opportunity to make things better, to put the Executive in check, but they were busy on the campaign trail for the past four-and-a-half years, and they are going back officially to spread more lies and half-truths.

Despite the fact that the 12th Parliament had an array of people holding post-graduate academic papers, the quality of debate was wanting, and calling it childlike is an insult to Kenya’s children whose future they have put in jeopardy by passing Bills that will kill dreams and stunt growth.

Kenyans may be happy that this gang is out, but the problem is, in about two months’ time, they will elect another lot which will probably be more corrupt than this one because they learnt from the worst.