What are the duties of parliamentarians in a country - to milk the nation dry or to make laws that are beneficial to the common man? It appears legislators across Africa need to be debriefed and have details of their job description written on their palms for better understanding, because many MP's across Africa are lost as to what their duties actually are.
They earn hefty salaries, receive unprecedented allowances for the most meaningless reasons, fly presidential jets and are treated as royalty for doing absolutely nothing!
Majority of them spend all their time in the house of parliament without saying a single word or contributing to a bill. They just sit, sleep, wake up and join in the laughter when ever someone says something funny.
They are the perfect examples of what politics in Africa have become - an avenue to amass wealth without doing anything!
A few months back, Sheun Sani, a Senator in Nigeria aroused the anger of his fellow honourable members when he disclosed to the press what members of the Senate actually receive. Nigerians were bitter when they realized that apart from salaries, wardrobe allowances, vehicle allowances, sitting allowances, security allowances, etc. The senators were given funds of about N14 million monthly as running cost, which they didn't have to account for!
For revealing this amongst other things, he incurred the wrath of the other senators and his party - the ruling All Progressive Party (APC). Guess what, Sheun Sani was not returned for another tenure and was kicked out of the party.
In what could pass as a bad comedy script, Members of Parliament in Sierra Leone have requested for a 300% increase in their salary. The MPs who currently receive a basic salary of $1,500 (12.7M Leones) monthly are demanding that it should be increased to $4400 (37M Leones) per month.
What is most surprising is that in addition to their salaries, they receive vehicle allowance of $13,000 per term, medical allowance of $5,000 annually, rent allowance of $20,000 annually and wardrobe allowance of $5,000 per term.
The question we should ask is why should government provide wardrobe, vehicle and rent allowance for millionaire MPs? Is there any MP in Africa that doesn't have a house (or houses) of his/her own? For how long shall we continue this way?
In Sierra Leone, medical doctors are paid $400, while State Registered Nurses are paid $130. Yet, the MPs do not find this alarming; rather, they have made it a duty to place their personal interests above public interest, how sad?
You will recall that in 2012, Senegal took a bold step and scrapped its Senate thus saving itself $15m.
How long can Africa countries sustain this unnecessary expenses and continue to flush taxpayers money down the drain, while people die of hunger by the second?
Image Credit: SLPP File