, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 26 – Members of the National Assembly on Wednesday began debating a bill that will guarantee them a lavish life when they are out of the politics.
The Parliamentary Society Bill sponsored by Eldas MP Adan Keynan proposes the formation of an umbrella body for MPs like other professional bodies that shall be anchored in law.
When initiating debate on the law, Keynan noted that 76 percent of MPs who were in the 10th Parliament were voted out while 80 percent of those serving in the 11th Parliament were most likely going to be rejected by the electorate.
“Mr Speaker it has become very difficult for such members to feel part and parcel of the ordinary civilian population and their employment prospects are greatly reduced. It has become psychologically difficult for such members to adapt to life outside Parliament. As a result, there are stories of ex-members and their partners suffering from psychological breakdown, many divorce rates, heart attacks etc,” Keynan said.
The Bill seeks to professionalise politics while giving dignity to the former politicians by providing a platform for them to engage and be integrated back to the society once they are out of politics.
“There is hanging suspicion on former MPs. If you are a lawyer, you will not get clients. If you are a doctor, patients will not come to you. We want to professionalise the work of MPs and remove that criminal perception,” he said.
Kanduyi legislator Wafula Wamunyinyi who seconded the Bill indicated that he will be moving an amendment to the Bill when it gets to the committee stage to allow former MPs have medical cover.
“Members need help, not only former MPs but also sitting ones. They are also need counselling because they are exposed to stressful situations,” Wamunyinyi said.
Others who supported the bill including Luanda MP Chris Omulele, Kitutu Chache North Jimmy Angwenyi, Rangwe MP George Oner and Nominated MP Isaac Mwaura who maintained the need for MPs who are voted out during elections to give back their expertise to the society while living decent lives.
“We are now saying that we need to allocate an earning for ourselves after we leave Parliament. What will happen to the people we lead, those who don’t have an opportunity to set the same for themselves? Will we pass the threshold of discrimination this are the questions we must ask ourselves?” Omulele posed.
“I am warning those MPs who have not taken a loan to buy a property they are lost, because that is the only investment you will leave this place with.”
“When you come here as a Member of Parliament you are held in high esteem but if you lose an election – I have lost one – people think you belong to the gutters. They don’t believe you belong to the society,” Angwenyi added.
Mwaura noted: “It’s very disheartening because you look at some of them… these are the people you used to read in the newspapers, these are the people who may have inspired you into politics but the kind of picture you are confronted with is very disheartening.”
The Bill proposes formation of a data bank which the Executive can use when picking officers to fill up positions in State corporations and other public institutions where the former MPs “can be utilised in nation building.”
“We really need to have a club equal to that of “Kikao cha Wazee” where we meet and talk. My friend Martin Shikuku died a miserable death and that is not what we wish for,” said Oner.
Counselling services shall also be accorded to members who are exposed to shock due to their political losses.
Former President Mwai Kibaki has been proposed as patron of the society and both Houses shall appoint one of their own to join the society’s board which will automatically also have Clerks of both Houses as members.