The Globalization Institute’s crack of dawn email of links continues to arrive, every week day, and continues to be well worth getting.
One of the recent links thus promulgated was to this editorial, from Kenya.
First few paragraphs:
With all the money they get as emoluments, one would have expected that our Members of Parliament would strive to ensure that they do an honest day’s job all year round.
But a report on their performance released yesterday shockingly says that the legislators only did 57 full working days the whole of last year. Allowing for public holidays, weekends and the days Parliament was in recess, this translates to less than two months of work.
Yet, these are people who are enjoying a salary package of Sh500,000 and other perks. They are the people who have been entrusted with articulating the needs of their people in Parliament.
Despite this, the study conducted by the Institute for Civic Affairs and Development says, there are some MPs who never brought any Bills to the House, never contributed to any and never raised a point of order.
In plain terms, this could be called incompetence.
One of the more depressing and destructive assumptions now rampaging about the world and doing damage to it is that the basic job of politicians is to pass laws. The more laws they pass, the better they must be doing.
But would Kenya really be a better governed country if all its members of parliament were to bring Bills to the House, instead of only some? Is it really the ultimate criticism of a politician that he never tries to pass any new laws. If politics means passing more laws, then maybe Kenya is lucky that it is not getting as much politics as it is paying for. There are far worse political vices than laziness.
I get the rough idea. Kenya’s parliamentarians are not the greatest, and I am sure that is true. But this is a very bad way to explain what is so wrong with them.