London Olympics and Kenya's Predator Legislators

823 views Published on 20th August 2012

David Rudisha leads the pack  Photo courtesy
As most Kenyans live from hand to mouth, the country’s legislators are recklessly spending billions of shillings in the name of official trips overseas. The country’s Prime Minister disclosed how billions of taxpayers’ money has been spent by various departments of government in overseas trips. The Prime Minister, whose office has spent over one hundred million shillings in overseas trips, could not account for spending by the Office of the President and the Vice president.

As legislators spend colossal amounts in travelling, many Kenyans are dying in hospitals because of lack of medicine and basic hospital facilities; schools are understaffed and the country’s workers have been up in arms demanding wage increments. Teachers, nurses, police and other essential service providers have incessantly pleaded with the government to increase their wages to no avail as the government always claims it has no money. A government whose Executive spends close to one billion shillings in travelling overseas (even when the delegations are not useful, fruitful or result oriented) is a rich government.

Kenyans are yet to know how much the government spent during the Olympic Games in London. Nearly the whole Cabinet and top government officials went to London to watch the Olympics and dominated the event as if it was a local political rally. At the end of it all, the Kenyan team performed dismally, an indication that the government did not prepare them adequately for the games. There was no justification to send such a big delegation to the Olympics while the country’s team was ill prepared for the competition. The Sports Minister ought to explain the cause of the team’s dismal performance. If this incident happened in developed countries where top government officials take responsibility for their actions, the Minister together with the rest of his officers could have resigned.

The government spent a lot of money transporting and feeding its own delegation rather than preparing its team for the Olympic Games.  Some of the Kenyan team members at the Olympics had no games attire. Dunford, a member of the Swimming team had to prepare his own track kits and yet he and others were representing Kenya. It later emerged that the sports kits that had been donated by certain international companies like Nike for the Kenyan team had disappeared.

A delegate from Zimbabwe at a recent high level China- Africa Consultative forum in Nairobi described Africans as “Eaters” and Chinese as “Hunters.” It is true as clearly put by Dr. Nyikadzino Gonese of the Solar Solutions in Africa   that Africans are just Eaters and not Hunters of opportunities. While Chinese and other world power countries like America, Japan etc.  are busy hunting in Africa, African themselves are busy eating donated handouts from the hunters. Instead of seeking opportunities and taking advantage of the hunters by planning ahead and to hunt as well, the leaders are busy eating little donations from hunters meant for the development of the country through grants, Corporate Social responsibilities (CSR) etc.

In the case of the Olympics in London, the Kenya delegation found an opportunity to enjoy at the expense of its athletic team. The delegation should account for every penny they spent and   what they achieved in London.

Kenyan voters should arise and stop being “Eaters” but ‘Hunters” like the Chinese. People should wake up and reject all these power and money hungry individuals who are only using their innocence to loot and grab wealth. It is sad that it is the same people who are contending for key seats in the next government. The Year 20113 is a promising year for Kenyans only if Kenyans think straight and reflect wisely. Brandishing Chapter Six of the constitution on Integrity and Leadership, Kenyans must demand that anybody seeking public office should be untainted.

By Denise A. O. Kodhe
Executive Director, The Institute for Democracy & Leadership in Africa (IDEA)


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