Kenyan parliament. (Photo/Courtesy)

As senators once again turned down money meant for their counties, their National Assembly colleagues were asking for more.

Only this time, members of the National Assembly didn’t want a pay raise. Just a pension for when they would be old and weak, and unable to work as hard. 

It was only fair that they got something, they said, in anticipation of the hardship brought about by retirement.

There was no need to lobby honourable members to support the Parliamentary Pensions (Amendment) Bill by Minority Leader John Mbadi.

From their cordial debate, it was clear that the outcome was already predetermined, probably in one of their late-night chats on social media.

“Hey, Wahesh. I’ve got a sweet deal,” one of them probably typed. “Not you again with your bright ideas,” came the response.

“Hear me out, guys. I promise you’ll love it. Picture this, we can get paid for doing nothing, and I know how we’ll do it.”

“How’s that different from what we are doing now?” a second one posed. “Fair point. But think of it this way – we would no longer have to pretend to be working if everything goes to plan,” assured the proposer.

“And how do you plan to do that, Einstein?” chided another. “Well, let’s increase our pension and make the taxpayers foot the bill. We can use the tribulations of our broke brothers as an excuse.”

“Mmh… Smart. But do you think these people are foolish enough to fall for it?” shot another. “They voted for you,” the mastermind retorted, amid wild chuckles from other group members.

Mastered their lines

So Wednesday was possibly just a performance, and besides the one or two mishaps, everyone seemed to have mastered their lines.

More impressive was their faultless expression of their deep concern, first for former MPs who have since turned into beggars, apparently, and for the taxpayer and picked sides accordingly.

‘Team-former-MPs’ defended their destitute comrades when granted the chance to speak while ‘Team-Wanjiku’ spoke against overburdening the taxpayer, only to retreat when they were ‘convinced’ that they wouldn’t feel the pinch. After all, what is Sh100,000 to Wanjiku?

Their script flowed seamlessly, and it concealed their worries until Minority Whip Junet Mohamed blabbed it all out.

“One time you’ll also be a former Member of Parliament,” he said, seemingly revealing their fears that their lives could run the poverty-riches-poverty cycle.

His remarks were the perfect cue for Majority Leader Amos Kimunya to, though subtly, pour out his heart’s desire. 

“We are not giving them (former MPs) a pension… the only thing we are doing is bringing that pension of Sh6,000 to its current value,” Kimunya remarked, in what sounded like a hint to future parliamentarians on how to treat veterans.

He went further and issued a sermon on the importance of keeping the wounded soldiers dignified and praised them for their dedicated service as MPs.

His approbation would have sounded genuine had he not reprimanded former Majority Leader Aden Duale, a wounded soldier himself, who tried to warn them that the President might refuse to assent to the Bill.