In 2003, Transparency International – Kenya published a booklet (PDF here) as a result of a survey they had carried out on Kenyan parliamentarians and the burden of dealing with (paying for) constituents needs – mostly though giving funds
It’s useful to look back on it at a time when the same parliamentarians want to increase their salaries again (because they can and will) the survey consisted of 8th parliament – expenditure of 7 MP’s and questionnaire of about 20 others
The survey was done before Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and the last salary increase (2003) and found that;
– Of their (then) Kshs. 395,000 gross salary, MP’s typically took home less than 50,000
– 2/3 of those surveyed claimed to spend between 200,000 and 300,000 pr month of their salary i.e. ½ to 2/3 – and it’s interesting that for those who TI tracked, they projected that their expenses would exceed their salary & expected income (TI did not pursue this point)
– Reasons for giving funds: to get re-elected got 3X as many responses as to help people. Longevity in parliament is maintained by being generous to constituents
– Ominous point for Kenya, most – over 2/3 of elections are not closely contested i.e. the winner gets double the votes of the loser signifying the importance of being in the right party. This places the burden on party nominations (see ODM-K, NARC, NARC-K, Shirikisho, Ford K….) which are often not observed, and are less free & fair
– TI Kenya defended the MP’s – asking for them to get higher remuneration (to ease the stress and deficits brought on by their constituents requests) and also supported CDF (at that time was only a proposal) But the latter is self defeating because the more the public knows that MP’s have increased their salary, only makes them ask for more from MP’s.
Now today, MP’s have CDF, get funds to set up office in their constituencies, control funds for school bursaries, are off the hook from free primary education (and soon secondary), and have almost doubled their salary from before the survey.
But CDF also helps voters decipher useless MP’s who can no longer lie to them that the government was denying them resources to do A, B, C. CDF reduced ‘problem solving’ but not all since most MP’s giving to their constituents consists of individuals and harambees.
So MP’s will increase their salaries, because they have to – and can.