Have you seen this infographic? It depicts politicians’ salaries and income inequality in various countries.
Kenya is leading the pack…no surprises there. The infographic hit the proverbial nail on the head – complete with the gourd-shaped belly balancing on toothpick legs image. I kid you not, a good number of Kenyan politicians look just like that. But I digress. Our politicians will look for any and every excuse to increase their salaries. “We’ll miss happy hour because we have to debate issues we are borderline clueless about…ergo we need to be compensated for that.” “If we had stayed at our previous jobs, we would have been promoted by now and well on our way to earning X amount of money…ergo we need to be compensated for that.” “We can’t walk in public without being recognized by paparazzi…ergo we need to be compensated for that.” “Our constituents expect us to pelt them with wads of money…ergo we need to be compensated for that.”
O.K maybe I exaggerated…a little bit. They haven’t actually said that…well at least not in public…but the reasons they give for their salary increases are just as ridiculous. I remember one politician saying he needs a pay raise because he left a well paying job. Ala!? Was he forced to quit his job and run for office!? If so, he should simply consult the person(s) who made him make that move. Another one said he needs to pay his father’s hospital bill. Say what!? Because obviously the rest of Kenya is responsible for taking care of politicians’ personal affairs. It’s absolutely insane, I say.
The thing about Kenyan politicians is that they spend so much time fattening their pockets and very little time fulfilling their overly recycled campaign pledges. If you have been a politician since early man’s hunting days, and your constituents still knock on your door for money for school fees, health bills, transport, rent and grocery shopping, then maybe you should do them a favor and quit. Clearly you don’t have and have never had a sustainable plan to ensure that your constituents are empowered and become financially independent.
Politicians are not the only ones to blame. We, Kenyans, have a role to play in this madness. We condone the politicians’ behavior and even enable them by defending some of their tactics. Every election cycle we vote the same people back into office with claims that voting for newer promising candidates is a vote waste. We are reluctant to hold them accountable because doing so is a supposed waste of time. When they fail to fulfill their election promises and instead take actions that are detrimental to our society, we don’t question them…we simply lament in private. As long as our politicians are happy then we laugh…shrug it off…accept and move on. We do so at our own expense. For how long will we accept and move on? Can we really ever move on if we are perpetually stuck in the same cyclical game that politicians play?