Are Kenyans getting a Fair Deal from MPs’ Bench-marking trips?
Bench-marking trips are made by Members of Parliament from time to time to learn new strategies of delivering to their constituents. In this particular session members shared the lessons learnt on catering, state of the art security systems and offices for Members of Parliament as seen by the members who visited the United Kingdom, Ireland and Washington DC.
They benchmark on various aspects from national assemblies around the world. Members of Kenya National Assembly visited the House of Lords, House of Commons and Northern Ireland Assembly. The report was tabled before the house by Hon. Ezekiel Machogu Ombaki, MP for Nyaribari Masaba Constituency.
Members of the August House who visited Washington DC to benchmark with both the US Congress and the US Senate reported that the members of those two houses in the US have better offices and they aspire to one day have better offices in Kenya.
The debate on the bench-marking trip would not end before touching on the catering services offered at parliament. This has been a subject of debate for a number of times:
“… the exchequer spends so much money, more so on parliament. If you compare the cost of running our kitchen, and the kind of services rendered, with how private companies manage similar facilities, for example how BAT or East African Industries run their kitchens – you will be in a position to compare how much they spend vis-a-vis what we spend here. You will find that perhaps we spend more but the services here are wanting due to lack of proper supervision,” said Hon. Onyango Oyoo, MP for Muhoroni.
As a solution to poor catering services offered by parliament, Hon. Alice Wahome (MP for Kandara) suggested that the national Assembly should outsource these catering services to firms who specialize on the same.
I was impressed that MP after MP called for implementation of recommendations made by bench-marking reports in order to give a fair deal to the taxpayers. For instance, Hon. Alice Wahome further called for “ we also do not want it to be another report or another bench-marking trip and next time they tell us they are going to China…”
According to the Program Based Budget for financial year 2018/2019, the National Assembly was allocated Ksh. 21.8 billion to conduct its mandate in regards to law-making. All the money will be spent as recurrent since no resources were allocated towards development projects. This means that the entire budget will be spent on payment of salaries, wages, goods and services.
a) National Assembly Report on Parliamentary Debates dated August 15, 2018.
b) Kenya national government Programme Based Budget FY 2018/2019.