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By Gitau Warigi

The Speaker of the National Assembly stated that
Parliament cannot be blocked by anybody from
debating any matter, including the Judiciary.
Earlier, the High Court had ordered Parliament not to
discuss a shotgun report by a parliamentary
committee which recommended the ouster of six
members of the Judicial Service Commission.
From the smaller chamber called the Senate, which
has severally got its nose bloodied from previous tiffs
with its legislative Big Brother, came word that it is
pushing ahead with a Bill to grant Senators ultimate
control over governors.
It is a straightforward supremacy battle, though
couched in the benevolent language of county
development boards which the Senators, of course,
seek to chair.
We created a Tower of Babel in the name of a new
Constitution. Everybody wants to play top dog. Each
wants to be seen as more powerful than the other.
All are shouting at the top of their voices to make
sure they are heard. The noise is incoherent, just like
the document they love to quote.
President Kenyatta says he is fed up with Cabinet
Secretaries being forced to spend all their time
before pompous parliamentary committees.
Hardly any time is left for them to work. The issues
raised in those meetings are usually trivial house-
keeping matters.
Rarely is it about policy, which is what the secretaries
are employed to deal with. Parliament has quite
shamelessly waded into the business of micro-
managing ministries.
Obviously, money has become an incentive for all
these endless committee sessions. MPs and senators
earn handsome allowances from these sittings,
though they are royally peeved that members of the
JSC they are dead set on disciplining earn even more.
Everything has been turned into grandstanding — an
opportunity to flex muscle. If this is the sort of
governance we aspire to have, we are doomed.
Cabinet Secretaries are no better. One is facing
censure for illegal appointments. Another started a
fight with Machakos Governor Dr Alfred Mutua over a
piece of land which has been idle for 50 years. I wish
the Secretary had not gone public with his clumsy,
Nyayo era threats. He stood no chance against the
very articulate governor.
Pro-people initiatives
I like Dr Mutua because he is savvy and fresh and
inspiring. I know his peers hear of him and go green
with envy. I see him in the very near future playing
on a much larger stage than a mere county.
He is pragmatic and understands the pointlessness
of political party posturing.
Dr Mutua’s critics grumble that he is all flash and PR.
But what’s wrong with that if the alternative is to
have dinosaurs like his county senator, one
Johnstone Muthama? Such are the types that drive
people to look for Green Cards.
The case of Dr Mutua aptly illustrates one thing: It
helps nobody when we look at the law or our
positions in absolutist terms.
Commonsense must be given room. All of us want to
see the country develop.
Petty turf wars won’t take us there. If the governor
has a vision of how to utilise the land for his county’s
benefit, what’s the point of some idle paper-pusher
butting in yet he has no better plan?
Meanwhile, members of the county assemblies
(MCAs) are on strike demanding to be paid a
Sh300,000 salary each.
There are exactly 1,450 elected and 779 nominated
MCAs in the country. If you multiply 2,229 with the
Sh300,000 each is demanding, you can easily see
where that leaves us.
Frankly I don’t see the economy growing to double
digits in this environment.
Already an obscene percentage of our national
revenue is gobbled up by the public wage bill.
Politicians, judges and members of commissions who
do nothing but argue unproductively about obscure
points of the Constitution have callously burdened
Wanjiku with huge paycheques and perks. Their
power struggles over “constitutional positions” add
no ugali to Wanjiku’s sufuria.
Development agencies keep repeating the
maddening mantra that the average Kenyan lives on
less than $2 a day. For poor Wanjiku’s sake, let’s stop
this elite greed and live within our means.
gwarigi@ke.nationmedia.com

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