Recently, a member of county assembly in Kericho opened up himself to the realities of financial woes ward reps undergo against backdrops of high demands.
Hon. Hesborn Tonui of Cheplanget Ward in Kericho County seemed to have opened up on something that most leaders would fear to talk about.
These guys are truly suffering in silence. Allow me to dissect this matter further. MCAs earn Sh44, 000 after taxes and loan deductions, says Anonymous.
This Sh44, 000 is meant for rent, food, transport expenses, school fees, harambees etc. The loan taken was meant to buy land, build a nice house and plant some tea.
Obviously, said loan ended up as dead capital, to mean no cash inflows are expected at the end of each month against such investments.
It is possible that the public does not know about this sad truth, or they have chosen not to know.
MCAs on the other hand fear saying the truth that they are broke. Sadly, the public doesn’t not like broke politicians.
This situation has put too much pressure on MCAs, with some choosing to opt out of their wards and live in towns.
People line up in their homes for hand outs and money for harambees as early as 6am.
With a net salary of Sh44, 000 MCA is an endangered person if such is their workload.
Lest you forget, the said MCA spent millions in their campaigns to secure his election.
Chinua Achebe says that water is dirtified by the soil that river runs over.
It seems that the corruption cycle in our society begins and ends with the voter. Harambee for church projects, schools and hospital fees top their weekly lists of expenses.
Some end up coming out of their closets and speaking out the way Hon. Tonui did while others opt to spread their frustrations elsewhere.
So how do these leaders survive, you ask. I also don’t know. But there are stories, rumours and theories.
From what we read in the media, if a human being is exposed to such levels of difficulties and pecuniary embarrassment, they either engage in corruption, or become available for manipulation.
They become contractors, harass contractors for kickbacks, or they do both. They harass all government officers within their reach, and especially those they can threaten with impeachment- the governor included.
They refuse to pass bills, including budgets, until they are bribed. They become guns for hire, especially where their county Governor is not a favourite of the high priests of their party.
When the rubber meets the road, and the MCA is able to smile again, the citizen will have suffered in one way or another.
Roads will have been poorly done. A road of 5km that is listed in payment vouchers as measuring 9 meters wide, 15 centimetres depth of murram, compacted and complete with drainage culverts will most likely not exist.
If it does exist, by good luck, it will be measuring 2.8Kms, 4 m wide, 5cm murram depth, no compaction and all drainage culverts absent.
The longest that the road can exist is three months, before being swept away by rains.
A nursery school classroom, with cracks on its all four walls cutting deep into it, is one strong wind away from collapsing and cutting short the dreams of voters whose little ones will have been completely covered by rubbles of collapsed classrooms.
Pit latrines hurriedly constructed and supported with raw bluegum branches will sink. Hospitals will go without drugs, and if by luck drugs will be available, patients will be starving in those hospital beds because of food rationing.
Substandard and poorly sited market sheds will have been constructed at exaggerated costs but lying unutilized.
All these and many others, occasioned by an attempt by the MCA to survive, the voter must be pampered.
Attempt to miss out from any of the many weekly fundraisers will be punished severely.
Village heroes will flood social media with reports on how their MCA is fake, and how they were stupid to elect someone who never attend harambees.
They will be calling local FM stations castigating and demonising their leaders. It won’t be long before they receive their share of the loot and they go mute, or their tunes begin shifting towards praise and worship.
What both the ordinary voter, and the extra- ordinary voter (political broker) do not know is that their leaders did not only loot enough to give for harambees and as hand outs, they looted enough to bribe all would be whistle blowers and EACC sleuths.
They looted enough for themselves, their cousins and girlfriends. Should the worst case scenario surface, like being voted out, they will still foot the bills and survive.
At this point, the looting does NOT involve the MCA alone! It will be teamwork between the MCA and a section of the executive staff.
It is a high time that the general public accepts that their leaders DO NOT have enough money to satisfy all their demands.
It is now time that community leaders begin to count losses resulting from their blackmails and extortion, some in the name of fundraisers.
It is time that the church decides whether it should partake of corruption. Anyone dishing out monies in sums higher than their monthly earnings is actually sharing out proceeds of corruption, and taking cover.
Resist this habit and instead demand for accountability for your leaders. Form community oversight teams and demand Bills of Quantities for all projects being implemented in your area.
Raise your voice and be heard where contractors and their support cartels force substandard projects on you.
Seek audience with EACC and DPP if necessary. Do not trust those singing praise and worship to any of your leaders, there is something that they are not telling you.
Any one calling a local FM station is doing so on sponsored airtime, a ‘thankyou fee’ after the call is made, and the promise of a government tender – All these to fool and steal from you.
Do not revere them, they are agents of corruption. They lie to you and later retreat to negotiate ransom from the corruption cartels.
See how they are monied without a defined source of income to boot? Do not offer up yourselves for manipulation.
Ask for and interrogate your county government’s audit reports. Demand reports by the county assembly touching on all manner of investigations.
Walk into the Governor’s office and ask for copies of County Executive Committee meeting minutes. Access to information held by government is your constitutional right.
Stop demanding for bribes from your leaders. Stop extortion and black mail. Stop it now. You are giving someone a reason to rob you!