Third Eye

MPs have role in high fuel prices

Thursday, September 23rd, 2021 00:00 |
The National Assembly wants to amend law on taxation of fuel. Photo/File

A commentator once remarked that Kenyan politicians stand for nothing and believe in nothing.

The premise of the comment was in the manner local politicians flip flop, double speak and speak untruths without batting an eyelid.

Whereas the comment seems extreme, this was demonstrated when the National Assembly reconvened on Tuesday and the first item on the agenda was the recent rise in petroleum and petroleum products prices. And once again the flip-flopping was there for everyone to see. 

Those who were supporting the government in 2018 when they voted to retain the contentious tax and are on the other side of the divide were calling out the Executive for using Parliament to pass draconian laws.

Those who were in opposition and who fought vehemently against the law are now sympathetic to the government with calls such as: A reversal will lead to a budget deficit; Treasury should find ways of assuaging the effects of the increase and so on and so forth. 

When the MPs were defending retention of the tax in the Finance Bill they knew its effects but like the typical ostrich they buried their heads in the sand hoping the Executive would somehow find ways of not increasing prices or at least take the flak for the unbearable cost of fuel.

This borders on conmanship. Greek philosopher Plato in his masterpiece, The Republic, derides rulers, in our context politicians, for what he thought was their motivation.

He blames selfishness on two things: Lack of knowledge and a lack of morals. As a result, his ideal leader is a philosopher king.

One with wisdom and always acting for the common good. 

The brash nature of our politicians, however, is a reflection of our society. They cry more than the common wananchi when critical issues are made public or when an election is around the corner, but privately they cut deals that wreak havoc on the economy and the lives of the people they lead.

The display on Tuesday was abhorrent and if anyone is affected by the exorbitant fuel prices, do not take it out on anyone else; your MP is partly to blame.

Exercise wisdom at the ballot. Do not fall for the temporary handouts yet the cost of living will shoot through the roof once we elect miscreants instead of genuine leaders.

Be visionary in your selection. A wise choice will spare the nation heartaches and constant grumbles.

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