When Kenyans woke up to reports that National Assembly minority leader John Mbadi was heading a delegation that comprised some of the most ardent tanga tanga leaders, eyebrows were raised. John Mbadi is a staunch supporter of the former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, and a sworn enemy of the tanga tanga brigade. The unity that was being put on display by the two erstwhile rival camps was encouraging, but also curious, and suspicious. Most feared that at the heart of the matter must have been something devious since these are leaders who have no ideology binding them, and no goals on which they share a similar strategy.
Unfortunately, the fears of most were confirmed when it came out that the newfound camaraderie had everything to do with a benchmarking trip by legislators to the United Arab Emirates where they are earning millions, and will keep doing so until the weekend.
It is estimated that each MP will get about Sh1.28 million given that they receive an allowance of Shs143,000 per day. This would translate to over Sh 20.5m in allowances for the 16 MPs who went to Dubai. Kenya Airways billing return ticket to Dubai on the business class costs Sh125,000. This translates to about Sh2 million on air tickets for the legislators.
National Assembly Clerk Michael Sialai was unapologetic about the trip.
Revealing that minority leader John Mbadi is leading the delegation in Dubai, he boasted that One of Parliament’s strategic plans, was to build capacity for members in order to discharge their mandate of representation and oversight.
“When there is an opportunity to build their capacity we can’t shy away to facilitate,” he said.
He said that the Dubai trip is meant to empower the MPs in obtaining an in-depth and comprehensive knowledge of theoretical as well as practical aspects of public financial management and National Assembly is facilitating it as part of its capacity building for members.
According to the Clerk, the 16 MPs are drawn from Finance, Budget, Public Investment Committee (PIC), Public Accounts Committee (PAC), and Special Fund Committees.
“In the recent past, members have been dealing with complex issues touching on finances including balanced budgeting, implementation of the budget approved by the House, debt ceiling and value for money auditing.
National Assembly PAC chair Opiyo Wandayi also bragged about having nominated two of his committee members to attend the training.
“Two of my team members are in the group. They are attending the training for a couple of days,” said Wandayi boastfully.