Members of Parliament are concerned by the rising number of Kenyans travelling from the villages to seek monetary assistance from them. Most of those frequenting the legislators’ offices are job seekers or villagers in need of financial assistance to settle funeral expenses or medical bills. Some however told The Nairobian that they were in the city to seek the waheshimiwa’s help to get transfers from their current work stations.
Many brave the morning cold and city traffic as early as 8am and mill around Continental House, which houses the legislators’ offices. Many of them will be seen carrying brown envelopes, and waiting eagerly to catch the eye of their MPs. Those who spoke to The Nairobian said that it was difficult to meet their area MPs back in the village.
Abdirahman Ogle from Wajir County said: “I came here last week, but I am yet to see my MP. He has not been to the constituency for several months.”
Anne Mbithe from Tawa village in Mbooni said her attempts to see her area MP, Kisoi Munyao in the village failed, prompting her to come to the city.
“I have called him severally but he has not picked my calls. I was told I could meet him here,” said the Kenyatta University graduate who said she wants the MP to help her get a job. “I am told he is a good man. I have never met him though,” added Mbithe who left after she was told the MP was not available.
Gatundu South Member of Parliament Mose Kuria has meanwhile said that most of those who come to see legislators in Nairobi are idlers. “The MP looks like everything to the common man. We are called to pay for medical bills and several other things. This shows that Kenyans trust MPs more than they do Senators and Governors. Go to Thika and see if there is anyone waiting to see the governor there. It is trust. Kenyans trust MPs,” he added.
Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati said it was wrong for people to mill around Parliament while there are offices at the constituency level where they can be attended to.
Legislators are paid mileage allowance to enable them visit their constituencies at least once in a week. There have been accusations that some MPs make false claims and don’t leave the city.
According to the 2014 review, the Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo noted that legislators used Sh2.4 billion for local travel. Parliament is not obligated to make public details of the mileage claims.