I’m not entirely sure whether this is hilarious, sad, or just ironic: last week a few cops got caught taking bribes from matatus by the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC). It was apparently a sting operation, complete with fake notes, undercover operatives, cameras, etc. For better or worse, the ordeal was caught on tape:
The news report said they were busted at a road block along “Nairobi–Nakuru” highway. We have two such road blocks near Uthiru (where I work), one of which is the one in the video, and the other being kwa roundabout, hapo madukani (at the roundabout, over by the shops). I’ve seen those road blocks nearly every day for the past one year I’ve been working at ILRI. Everyone has.
I can’t think of any reason why a police officer in Kenya should get a free ride in a matatu (minibus use for public transport). As far as I know there’s no law that says, “If you see a cop walking, give him a ride.” It happens all the time, though: some cop walking on the side of the road flags down a matatu and the guy jumps in. For some reason every non-Kenyan person I complain to has the gut reaction to tell me that its because cops “serve the public.” Um, hello? Which Kenya do you live in?
Not me, haha, Mwai Kibaki. They say he’s the president, but he’s more like a king. I knew he was filthy rich, but a recent newspaper article in The Nation detailed his earnings. Here’s the deal, he earns 2 million Kenyan shillings as a basic salary and another 1.2 million in allowances (entertainment, they say). That’s per month, by the way. 3.2 million Kenyan shillings is approximately equal to 40,000 US dollars. Remember, per month!
Now add to that Prime Minister Raila Odinga‘s pay (who serves in a new position in the government since December, 2007’s presidential election debacle). Current newspapers quote him as saying that he should earn as much as the president, as they are supposed to be at the same level of government (co-kings, I guess!). Then we have the 200+ members of parliament who earn somewhere around 800,000 basic salary and around 100,000 allowances for things as ridiculous as entertainment, car maintenance, etc. What’s more ridiculous is that one of the first pieces of legislation these MPs pass when they arrive in office is an increase of their salaries. Continue Reading