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MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24 Kenya. The stories here come from users.

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The hard facts we must face as a nation

11 January 2013, 14:34 Cheruo Levi Cheptora

Kenya is ranked second as the worst place to be born in and as if that's not enough, Nairobi is the second worst city to live in the world according to the latest statistics (Washington Post, 8th January 2013).

While a certain level of corruption goes on in every country, corruption in Kenya is a particularly large problem.

The average urban Kenyan has to pay 16 bribes a month to get his regular affairs arranged.

In the 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index issued by the anti-corruption organization Transparency International, Kenya ranks 147 out of 180 countries, meaning 146 countries are supposed to be less corrupt than Kenya, and 33 countries are more corrupt.

For comparison, the 180th country was Somalia whereas the 1st was Denmark.

Rich head of state

And interestingly, Kenya is among the chart-topping nations in terms of remunerating its leaders, with President Kibaki toppling many of the world’s richest state heads.

President Kibaki’s annual salary and benefits top the earnings of President Barack Obama of the United States, the world’s most powerful nation, by more than KES 3 million a year.

It also overshadows that of leaders of other world leading economies such as Germany, Russia, Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.

At KES2 million a month ($26,000) basic salary, President Kibaki earns KES24 million ($312,000) a year, slightly higher than German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s $303,000.

Germany is Europe’s largest economy, and the world’s fifth.

Best paid law makers

Kenyan Mps are among the best paid law makers in the world as far as I know.

To them (I call them greedy fellows) the amount they earn isn’t enough and unfortunately they are always agitating for a salary increase.

Here is what a Kenyan member of parliament makes in a month (30 days to be exact)

  •     Basic salary KES 395 000
  •     Entertainment allowance KES 60 000
  •     House allowance KES 70 000
  •     Car maintenance allowance KES 247 000
  •     Gym membership KES 2 000
  •     Vehicle fixed cost allowance KES 336 000
  •     Committee meeting allowance KES 40 000
  •     Constituency allowance KES 50 000

A grand total amount of KES 1.2 million which is equivalent to $14,118.

The World Bank estimates that Kenya’s poverty level stands at 44 to 46 per cent, which is almost the same level it has remained for six years.

However, it represents an improvement from 12 years ago when poverty level stood at 56 per cent before falling to 46 per cent in 2005/6.

While some progress has been made in meeting Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the World Bank estimates that the battle is far from won.

Unemployment rates

Unemployment Rate in Kenya increased to 40 percent in 2011 from 12.70 percent in 2006, as reported by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

Historically, from 1999 to 2011, Kenya Unemployment Rates averaged 22.4 per cent reaching an all time high of 40.0 per cent in December of 2011 and a record low of 12.7 Percent in December of 2006.

In Kenya, the unemployment rate measures the number of people actively looking for a job as a percentage of the labour force.

Poverty rates

Food insecurity in Kenya has been a major challenge that has faced the country for many years plunging majority of Kenyans especially low income earners into abject poverty.

The latest index indicates that the national poverty levels stands at 47 per cent and it might increase if inflation rates, shilling volatility and poor farming methods are not curbed early.

Inflation Rates

High inflation rates that stand at 18 percent as of October are the highest levels ever to be recorded in the country since independence.

These levels have mainly being fueled by high food and fuel prices.

Surge in international food prices from 2008 has raised the price of food, hurting low income earners.

Given that majority of Kenyans spend over 50 percent of their household incomes on food alone these rates have increased food insecurity and living cost in the country pushing Kenyans to a concrete economic corner.

Hefty send off package

All that said, and given the fact that our MPs just sneaked in yet another proposal to reward themselves an outrageous send off package totaling KES 9.1 Millions, as a people, we are expectantly waiting for His Excellency the President of the republic of Kenya (Emilio Mwai Kibaki) to hearken to our heartfelt please...our deep felt concerns about the economic impact such an evil gesture will have to our beloved nation.

As the minutes ticked by; bringing even closer the much anticipated ‘date’ with the shrewd bunch of Legislators, I feverishly hope that we will be able to cast our votes peacefully come March 4th 2013.

And just many other distraught Kenyans, I honestly hope that we’ve learnt our lessons the hard way (as the electorate) and that never again are we going to entrust our hard-earned sweat in sly & corrupt politicians.

I know we are much wiser now.

We’ve had our share of the bitter lemons that have been time and again handed down by the big men and women who abandoned our social amenities, never bothered about the impassable roads back at our villages and worst, enacted laws that have made our ‘has been miserable’ lives not any better than five years ago!

As we prepare to embrace the electioneering period, let us remember that while we’ve peacefully co-existed, inter-married, interacted in our workplaces and laughed and cried together as purely Kenyans.

We’ve also learn that turning against a brother is meaningless, barbaric, demeaning and inhuman.

We must also put in mind that Kenya will forever remain far much bigger than any one single tribe, an individual or even a political party affiliation.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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