We all know that having too much money doesn’t breed contentment and success but Kenyan MPs do not care. After all life is to be lived.
In 2018 , Kenyan MPs started a bench marking adventure across the world in a bid to learn how other legislatures from four foreign countries as selected live.
They were in search of good food quality services among others.
The committee overseen by Ezekiel Machogu Ombaki (Nyaribari Masaba) flew its members to the United Kingdom, India, New Zealand and Northern Ireland between March and August.
The committee has a five-member secretariat that is entitled to an average of Sh50,000 in per diem every day while out on duty.
Six MPs travelled to the UK where each received Sh110,800 per day for five days they spent there studying how the assembly takes care of legislators.
The second batch of six MPs flew to Northern Ireland for five days and pocketed Sh110,800 each per day as another four-member delegation went to India where each was paid Sh81,700 per day for nine days.
And in June, six committee members went for another benchmarking trip to New Zealand where the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) has capped per diem at Sh97,400 per day. The MPs spent seven days in New Zealand.
An Economy class return ticket to UK costs about Sh140,000 while the same flight to India is about Sh100,000.
With flight, accommodation and other expenses factored in, the committee has spent close to Sh30 million of the taxpayer’s money in pursuit of comfort for MPs.
Mind you , Kenyan MPs are the best paid at Ksh 1.2 million per month and all 416 Members of Parliament, Speakers of both Houses and majority leaders in both chambers are fighting to be provided with a rent-free house, a government vehicle, an expanded medical cover, travel allowances and an expanded constituency outreach operation.
After their bench marking adventure, the new Zealand lesson will be the first to be implemented.
The lawmakers are demanding an accommodation allowance that will allow them sleep, wine and dine in five-star hotels when in the city ‘for legislative business’.
The MPs could be eyeing paid up to Sh400,000 every time they are in town although the figure for the new allowance is not immediately available, but it is to justify their demands after the committee that benchmarked in New Zealand suggested the kind of perks.
The lawmakers, besides having a mortgage for a city home, enjoy several other benefits that ordinary Kenyans can only dream of. Still, they want more money, which they claim was approved last year but was being held by the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC).
By demanding an accommodation allowance despite being entitled to a low interest mortgage facility, the MPs are essentially seeking double payment for housing.
The push for the new allowance could be a disguised attempt to lessen their burden on servicing the mortgage, which must be repaid by the end of their term.