'Guzzler Chambers' most suitable name for Parliament's new block

The new Parliament building that will house offices for Members of Parliament. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Tomorrow is the deadline, and any creative Kenyan who wants to win Sh100,000 should not miss the chance.

The Parliamentary Service Commission, the entity that handles the needs of Kenya’s most notorious brigands in the National Assembly and the Senate, wants the services of creative Kenyans, and will pay for it.

The amount it is offering is not much considering what its charges waste, nay, plunder, but whoever gets it can count themselves lucky for snatching something from a Parliament that is known for its gluttonous nature of only taking, and always asking for more.

Some people may wonder why the government entity is asking for this particular service, and younger journalists will probably throw in the cliché phrase “for the first time ever”, but this is not new.

Slightly over 20 years ago, the Central Bank of Kenya was meant to move its operations from the current location to another building on the same street. The new office block, which was known as New Central Bank Tower, is a 38-floor behemoth that was completed in 2000, and took eight years to put up.

Before its completion, the Central Bank announced that it would not need it because the nature of their operations, going forward, did not require such an office block.

It is all left to your imagination why the Central Bank bosses felt they needed a modernism-style 140-metre head office with a helipad, but the governor who declined to move there had succeeded the one who commissioned its construction.

Since it was no longer going to be Central Bank's head office, it could not be called New Central Bank Tower (though that is its official name), and a new name was needed, so Kenyans were asked to give suggestions.

It is not easy to tell which agency was in charge of picking the best, and most creative entry, but they ended up with the bland Times Tower.

History is repeating itself 20 plus years later as another government entity is calling on Kenyans to supply a name for an office block it built to serve greedy members of the National Assembly and the Senate.

If at all there was monetary compensation for the person who gave the building with a marbled façade the colourless Times Tower name, I cannot remember, neither can I recall if the person’s face was ever shown to the public.

This time though, the parliamentary commission is offering Sh100,000 for the most creative name, but there are a number of riders those who want to submit entries must consider.

Values of Parliament

First, the name must be catchy and must reflect the values of the institution of Parliament and its stature. That might be tricky, for, what are the values of Parliament? If telling lies and stealing are values, then it can be said that Members of Parliament are men and women of virtue.

Going by that narrative of stealing and telling lies, the building should be called Looters Paradise, all in keeping with the tradition of Kenyans joining politics not to serve the people, but to enrich themselves through underhand deals.

House of Pain can also be appropriate since MPs only cause voters untold suffering. Den of Thieves is too cliché, but catchy and appropriate, as is Den of Iniquity or even better the Lion’s Den as it reflects MPs’ predatory nature since they see Kenyans as prey whose blood must be drank and their sweat and tears ignored.

Poverty Plaza can work, for it reflects the values MPs hold dear—keeping Kenyans in such a state that they not only live in penury, but worship poverty so much so that when they give crumbs as handouts, Kenyans get overwhelmed with their magnanimity and vote for them.

Since the name needs to be catchy, The Hole is also okay since Parliament is where Kenyans hopes and dreams are lost in a bottomless pit of greed inhabited by people who do not think beyond their stomachs.

They get elected to serve the people, and ensure that they get basic services, but that does not happen since MPs enter the House and their first order of business is increasing their pay and allowances and fighting for other perks.

Brain Drain Dungeon or The Drainage also reflect what goes on in Parliament since even the most learned enter and lose their brains and start insulting the sensibilities of Kenyans.

The Drainage, on the other hand, fits the bill because all cases of corruption start or end there when members pass Bills that do not empower citizens or when parliamentary committees accept bribes and fail to interrogate scams conclusively.

There is also Guzzler Chambers. This captures the spirit of Parliament for the members’ love for fuel-guzzling vehicles, and their love for guzzling public funds.

Also, the building guzzled Sh5.8 billion which would have been put to better use than constructing offices for a bunch of thankless people.