Economy, News

Why Kenya Must Stop Blowing Hot and Cold on Cooking Gas

Kenyans were recent­ly treat­ed to a rare and most unfor­tu­nate TV show when a mem­ber of par­lia­ment pub­licly accused her col­league of fraud­u­lent­ly claim­ing fuel allowances and even being part of what she called a par­lia­men­tary ‘mileage car­tel’. The show on Cit­i­zen TV was chaot­ic and had to go into an abrupt break. The fact that it is the Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment (MPs) them­selves who are let­ting the cat out of the bag that indeed some MPs may be manip­u­lat­ing the sys­tem to extract as much mon­ey as pos­si­ble, would it be wrong for Kenyans to assume that we were liv­ing in an eth­i­cal­ly col­lapsed soci­ety? Indeed, a few days before the alter­ca­tion on TV , the Audi­tor Gen­er­al had raised queries over sus­pect­ed irreg­u­lar pay­ment of mileage claims to MPs by the Par­lia­men­tary Ser­vice Commission(PSC).

In a recent trip over­seas, I encoun­tered a sim­i­lar blast when a trav­el agent painful­ly recount­ed the exploita­tive behav­ior of some of our MPs. She was in vis­i­ble agony as she explained how some of our Kenyan lead­ers keep flock­ing into the coun­try and go as far as acquir­ing fake receipts in order to claim trans­port and sub­sis­tence reim­burse­ments. Such lead­ers are not just manip­u­lat­ing gov­ern­ment sys­tems, they are in fact manip­u­lat­ing all fifty mil­lion Kenyans. The fraud­u­lent­ly reim­bursed mon­ey comes from gov­ern­ment cof­fers and those cof­fers are fund­ed by the taxpayer.

As a first mea­sure to cur­tail such extrav­a­gance, I sug­gest that the salaries and Remu­ner­a­tion Com­mis­sion re-looks at allowances for State Offi­cers. These allowances must be capped at mod­est fig­ures that should be as low as half the cur­rent rates. After all, many lead­ers usu­al­ly stay in three-star hotels or even low­er ranked hotels when they trav­el so that they can save as much mon­ey as possible.

The very able Madam Nan­cy Gath­un­gu, the Audi­tor Gen­er­al has her team’s work cut out because her office exists to pro­mote account­abil­i­ty in the man­age­ment of pub­lic resources. They must ensure metic­u­lous inves­ti­ga­tions to iden­ti­fy and call out the lead­ers who abuse the sys­tem to reap where they haven’t sown. I sug­gest the hash tag #Oper­a­tion­Jaza­Jela!

But before we cast a stone at our polit­i­cal lead­ers, we must real­ize that we, the peo­ple of Kenya are their enablers. They mere­ly reflect us. For instance, in Kenya today, there are farm­ers who will nev­er eat what they plant because they know the harm­ful nature of the chem­i­cals they use on those veg­eta­bles, but hap­pi­ly sell the same to fel­low Kenyans. Last year, Keny­at­ta Uni­ver­si­ty con­duct­ed a study which revealed how some toma­to farm­ers overuse cer­tain pes­ti­cides and con­se­quent­ly endan­ger the health of Kenyans who con­sume them.

Remem­ber that Latin proverb ‘Vox Pop­uli, Vox Dei’ which means, ‘the voice of the peo­ple is the voice of God.’ This proverb reminds us that we as a peo­ple have immense poten­tial to effect good in our soci­ety. We the peo­ple are the real lead­ers. We lead the lead­ers. The rea­son many lead­ers don’t exer­cise ser­vant lead­er­ship is because we have abdi­cat­ed our role as their mas­ters. Indeed, pol­i­tics is too impor­tant to be left to politi­cians alone. It is we, the peo­ple of Kenya who must dic­tate, the tone, con­tent and com­po­si­tion of pol­i­tics in our country.

The solu­tion to our col­laps­ing soci­ety is there­fore not com­pli­cat­ed- it is the basic Idea known as patri­o­tism. We begin to rebuild a col­laps­ing soci­ety by lov­ing our nation and doing unto oth­ers as what we would like them to do to us. That is what Mahat­ma Gand­hi meant when he told us to be the change we want to see in soci­ety. We can achieve such a change­mak­er mind­set through introspection.

Intro­spec­tion entails tak­ing a long, hard look at our­selves. Intro­spec­tion is the flash­light that we can use to illu­mi­nate our inten­tions; our dri­ving force; our own short­com­ings. Intro­spec­tion will help you to change the only per­son that you can tru­ly change — yourself.

Indeed, the only way that Kenyans can fix their col­lapsed soci­ety is first of all by fix­ing them­selves. This hap­pens when you think and act green!

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About Dr. Kalua Green

He is the Chief Stew­ard of Green Africa Group, a con­glom­er­ate that was envi­sioned in 1991 to con­nect, pro­duce and impact var­i­ous aspi­ra­tions of human­i­ty through Sus­tain­able Mobil­i­ty & Safe­ty Solu­tions, Eco­pre­neur­ship & Agribusi­ness, Ship­ping & Logis­tics, Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Ini­tia­tives, as well as Hos­pi­tal­i­ty & fur­nish­ings sectors

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