Politicians have turned by elections into national contests at the expense of local issues of the electoral areas

On March 01, 2021, over 100 MPs campaigned for a party candidate for MP, Kabuchai by-election. The same happened for MP-Matungu, Senator – Machakos and Electoral Wards across the country.

Truly, these Honourables are idle but with fat pockets. Unfortunately, it’s tax payers’ money they swim in.

Ksh. 336,000 per month is paid to an MP for visits in their respective constituencies. This takes care of vehicle maintenance and fueling.

Exploitation of tax payers

Tax payers pay for their accommodation, meals and entertainment, while on official duty in legislative Chambers and visits in their respective electoral areas.

It’s madness to imagine that MPs from, say, Kilifi use their own business (personal) profits to travel and campaign for a candidate in Kabuchai, over 1,000 km away.

What would be the social and economic returns to this investment for them and for the Kabuchai residents other than confusion?

Rational conclusion

The rational conclusion is they use tax payers’ money to satisfy their wants. It’s misuse of public resources that calls for strict controls.

The campaigns in by-elections have turned into contests between party leaders. They come to flex muscles at the expense of local issues.

They deny voters the opportunity to vet the candidates based on their capabilities and tangible promises.

Related stories

The party leaders’ influence

The party leader’s influence or show of solidarity with him becomes the major determining factor. We have lost seriousness with people’s representation.

This madness can be checked if SRC and IEBC deliver on their constitutional mandates, without fear or favor.

The SRC needs to set pay limits to facilitate MPs and MCAs to attend Parliament and move in their respective electoral areas.

Service delivery

The current pay is set to satisfy the wants (luxuries) of MPs and MCAs, instead of their needs (basic requirements) to serve their constituents.

The floating money has to be used in one way or the other and refunded through fictitious claims. This happens as the financiers (tax payers) struggle to put food (basic need for life) on the table.

The IEBC needs to enforce the laws on campaigns and regulate them to stop violence and bribery.

Respect of the law

The Agency needs to control MPs to respect the laws they enact. The former provincial administration, effectively, enforced the laws on campaigns.

The repealed Chief’s Authority Act never allowed campaigns before announcement of the campaign period. It was followed to the letter across the board.

Today, we waste a lot of public resources on a moribund IEBC. Maybe, it’s time we did away with IEBC and restore its functions to the effective regional administration to rein in politicians, who have turned by-elections into national contests at the expense of local issues. Just thinking aloud.