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MPs must desist from selfish, corrupt acts that dent image of the Assembly

By The Standard | November 24th 2018

Some MPs have perfected a dangerous habit – that of using every surreptitious means to make quick cash. Even before dust settles on yet another of their brazen attempts to increase their fat perks, details have emerged of how legislators are using House procedures to extort cash from people summoned to appear before them.

And just two months ago, the House became a laughing stock after rogue members received bribes to shoot down a report on contraband sugar that had made its way into the country. After investigations, the Powers and Privileges Committee chaired by Speaker Justin Muturi, wants the EACC and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to probe the same.

There have been cases where MPs make false mileage claims and engage in needless foreign trips to pocket allowances running into billions of shillings. There have also been reports of committees holding many sittings to attract allowances with no substantive debate.

The new extortion around summonses is dishonorable to say the least. There are at least 60 petitions whose lifespans set by the law have elapsed yet legislators continue to summon individuals to appear before various committees. Their most preferred guests are Cabinet Secretaries, parastatal bosses, parliamentary heads and business leaders who are often forced to give ‘tokens’ to members during the now infamous in camera interrogation sessions. In some cases, MPs delay certain petitions in furtherance to their selfish interests.

Kimilili MP Didmus Baraza did not shy away from addressing the issue after he draw Speaker Muturi’s attention to the delayed petitions. Some of the petitions upon which MPs have summoned various people, it has emerged, are questionable and border on witch-hunt. One such example is a petition on Tatu City which, according to insiders, contains false claims. We condemn this latest string of dishonorable acts by the House. Parliament and indeed other arms of government must be beyond reproach. To call a spade a spade, greed in the 12th Parliament reflects leadership failure of a monumental proportion. The work of an MP is to serve, not to ‘eat’. 

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