Friday, September 23, 2011



By Jerry Okungu

Nairobi, Kenya

September 21, 2011

Why are some of our MPs hell- bent on soiling the name of Parliament? Why are they bent on ridiculing themselves making them a laughing stock in public? Aren’t there better ways to remain popular with their constituents? Must they box and kick walls in front of their electorate in order to gain their support? Must they chase perceived enemies or land grabbers like common criminals and like touts and manambas throw stones at their victims?

A few years ago, we allowed into our country, two thugs from Armenia to terrorize us here for close to six months. After the Artur brothers were arbitrarily given the ranks of deputy police commissioner, allowed to import firearms and drive expensive motor vehicles without number plates, the height of their terror on us was once displayed at JKIA Customs arrival when they refused to open their luggage for inspection. When the Customs officials insisted to see what they were bringing into the country, all hell broke loose! They drew guns and forced their way out of the airport. This was in the full glare of Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, then Minister for Trade and Industry. It was only after Dr. Kituyi testified in Parliament that the Kenyan authorities were awaken to the reality of the dangers of allowing dubious foreigners access to our sensitive areas like airports and security agency offices.

What happened at the Sinai fire tragedy, at the Special Programmes Ministry and later at JKIA the day Uhuru Kenyatta was departing to The Hague were obviously cause for worry. All the three incidents involved our elected leaders engaging in some of the most deplorable theatrics not worthy of a person who would like to be called honorable

We all watched in disbelief and discomfort when in April this year, forty members of our Parliament abandoned their civic duties at home to escort the Ocampo Six to a pretrial hearing in The Hague only to be locked in a room and watch the proceedings on TV just like we did back home. To make matters worse, the forty honorable MPs went about singing songs in the streets of The Hague as if their theatrics would change the situation facing our fellow Kenyans in an international court.

This week, we saw how three MPs kicked and tried to punch their way into a restricted area just to see Uhuru Kenyatta who had checked in. Surely, if they really needed to see Uhuru off, why didn’t they behave like civilized law makers and get to the airport early enough like Uhuru’s other supporters did? Better still, why didn’t they arrive with Uhuru so that they could say good bye in a more respectable manner? Why did they have to arrive late and try to force their way through the passenger exit when they knew too well that they were not allowed by law unless they were travelling and had boarding passes?

In an attempt to bully the police officers to the extent of reminding the officers that they were honourable, the police officers chose to disregard their national status and decided that if it was force they needed then they would get it.

This behavior is worrying at many levels. At one level, they caused a scene, behaved in a manner likely to cause a breach of the peace which the police could have charged them with and locked them up at the JKIA police station for the next 24 hours.

At another level, these so called MPs embarrassed us in front of so many foreigners that were leaving our airport that night. Our tourists must have left wondering whether we have thugs and goons for law makers.

But perhaps the most astonishing thing was that in engaging in these acts of lawlessness, these people forgot that they were law makers and that as law makers, they were bound by law to obey those laws they pass from time to time. They forgot that all Kenyans especially under the present constitution are equal before the law.

If these MPs wanted to see Uhuru off up to the VIP lounge, all they needed to do was to send a request to the Airport Security Officer for issuance with special passes to allow them in for a few hours. I have done this on several occasions when I have had to meet my young children at the same airport from time to time. In all those occasions, I found Airport Security to be polite, accommodating and courteous. Why some of our honorable MPs cannot do the right thing beats logic.

Was it any wonder that when Sinai fire broke out, they were the first to arrive there? Was it any wonder that some of them even dislocated their hips when they led fellow goons to climb over the KPC fence to cause havoc? Was it any wonder that some of them discharged themselves from hospital to go and continue protesting against government compensation to the victims and mass grave burials for those bodies that could not be recognized? Is there anything or any situation that these “honorable” MPs cannot exploit for their personal gain?

Now I know why elected leaders must this time be vetted for good conduct and personal integrity before they are cleared to contest any office. Yes, the new IECK must stand its ground and disqualify these criminals from the next elections. After 50 years of independence, we can do without this kind of indignity in our midst.