The Reverse Robin Hood.
They left their homes, offices and possibly university class rooms to march in the unison of their discontent, a feeling not exclusive to these young men and women but one known to the country as a whole. So they braved the suns harsh rays carrying and lagging more than 200 boxes behind then or baring them on their shoulders. They walked in one voice to parliament* to do what their MP’s had wanted: a state funeral all be it without the rich colour, pomp and circumstance, the youth’s each with a uniform black wooden box fashioned into the shape of a casket which they proceeded to splash with fuel and burn in what took on the form of a bon fire.
This act of defiance and cheek was as a result of the MP’s latest attempt last week to award themselves a hefty retirement package of millions and dozens of new perks, among them armed guards and state funerals.
Perks weren’t the only gift MP’s gave themselves in this amendment –of a bill- to the retirement benefits bill 2012 MP’s lavished upon themselves a rather large and expensive pat on the back which included among other things: 9.3 Million shillings in allowances, a driver and VIP treatment at all Kenyan airports- I wouldn’t put it past them to ask for the same treatment internationally if they could.
In amendments that were made in the dark and dead of night the MP’s were generous not only to themselves but also to their leader in the hopes that the gesture would loosen his normally moral and more often than not ‘conservative’ past decisions when faced with doling out salary increments. In their bid to elicit a favourable outcome they President Kibaki a more than generous retirement package of his very own which included: a 25.4 Million Golden Handshake and a 1 Million shilling monthly allowance for his entire life. They went on to sweeten the President’s deal even more by throwing in a monthly entertainment allowance of 200,000, and a 300,000 shilling housing allowance. The tax payer would also be obliged to cough up 400,000 shillings total for fuel, electricity, water, and telephone allowance -200,000 each and foot the bill for at least 26 workers. All considered the MP’s made this a deal the President couldn’t not assent to.
As it turned out they were only half right, as the former MP of Othia assented to his bill but denied them their own glittering pat on the back. When news of the proposed bills was broken by the ever present much maligned 4th estate, both Kenyans and fellow MP’s did what they always do... rebuke, blast and protest their ’greedy ‘Parliamentarians and fellow MP’s- both on the internet and at venues and in speeches given around the country- in the loudest and most indignant voices they could muster, and as usual the President shot down the bill and sent it to the Attorney General for redrafting to much praise and acclaim.With the MP’s being christened ‘MPigs’ on twitter.
On the hand there are all the nurses, doctors, teachers and police: all vastly under paid and in most cases over worked and dealing with near unworkable conditions. Their only resort; to go on strike, to put down their tool and in some cases risk lives to fight for what they clearly deserve. But with all this going wrong MP’s and in this instance the President find the time- and money in the coffers- to pay themselves.
It is surely only in Kenya and indeed Africa where the rich rob the poor taxpayer and give back to themselves thus giving rise to a Reverse Robin Hood strategy.