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Daily Nation : February 9th 2014
SUNDAY NATION February 9, 2014 National News 9 WELFARE | Architect argues lawmakers prone to bankruptcy, heart attacks and nervous breakdown after retirement Proposed new law to pamper former MPs Society to scout for consultancies for members to maintain the busy schedule of life in Parliament BY KENFREY KIBERENGE @KenKiberenge firstname.lastname@example.org A legislator has proposed a law that could save former MPs from the woes that so often bedevil them: nervous breakdown, divorce, heart attacks, alcoholism, debts and bankruptcy. The Bill, sponsored by Eldas MP Adan Keynan, seeks to establish the Parliamentary Society of Kenya to facilitate professional counselling services and provide advice on retirement, re-employment and re-training and financial planning to former MPs. “There exists no legal frame- work to facilitate rehabilitation of MPs who have to contend with being out of Parliament after a long stint,” Mr Keynan said. “As a result, there are cases It is difficult for former lawmakers to adapt to life outside Parliament,” Eldas MP Adan Keynan while proposing the Bill of ex-members, including their partners, suffering nervous breakdown, heart attack, alcoholism, divorce, even becoming bankrupt.” The proposed body, he says, would accord former lawmakers opportunities to visit and speak at universities, academies, schools and voluntary groups, to narrate their experiences and particular skills and lecture on the workings of Parliament. Unlike in the developing world where people go into politics primarily to enrich themselves, many politicians in western countries make most of their wealth after leaving office through MPs abandon their careers to spend most of their time in public service, and it becomes difficult for them to revert to civilian life while their employment prospects are greatly reduced. “It is psychologically difficult for such members to adjust to life outside Parliament,” he said. Sustained scrutiny of MPs’ actions while in office as well as a review of the Constituency Development Fund saw at least three-quarters of lawmakers fail to be re-elected in the last two general elections. Funded by the State But Mr Keynan said the FILE | NATION Eldas Member of Parliament Adan Keynan is the proponent of a new Bill which, if adopted, will facilitate the formation of a society to cater for the wellbeing of former legislators, many of whom fall into bankruptcy. public lectures, consultancies and lobbies. According to the Financial Times, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair made Sh2.8 billion (£20 million) in 2011 from consultancy, which translates to an average of Sh26.8 million per a speaking engagement. Mr Blair’s successor Gordon Brown had earned more than Sh197 million (£1.4 million) as of February 2012. The BBC reports that Mr Brown’s most lucrative speech was in Nigeria where he was paid Sh11 million (£74,936). He also made more than Sh26 million (£180,000) in fees and expenses for work he did at New York University. Former US President George W. Bush had delivered nearly 140 paid talks as of August 2012, at home and abroad, pocketing a cool Sh1.3 billion ($15 million) since retiring in 2009. Contrasting fortunes His predecessor, Bill Clinton earned Sh1.2 billion ($13.4 million) in speaking fees in 2011, Sh920 million ($10.7 million) in 2010 and Sh645 million ($7.5 million) in 2009, according to CNN. In total, Mr Clinton has earned Sh7.7 billion ($89 million) from paid speeches since leaving the White House in January 2001. In contrast, former PM Raila Odinga and former Vice-Presi- dent Kalonzo Musyoka have had little to do since leaving office last year. Mr Odinga’s only high-profile engagement was a talk in London in April last year at the Times Africa Investors’ Summit sponsored by The Times of London. Mr Musyoka was appointed to head the Commonwealth Observer Mission in the Sri Lankan elections last September. In justifying the new Bill, Mr Keynan argues that it would, for the first time, provide a legal framework through which former MPs can be re-integrated into society. The Bill is set for Second Reading on Tuesday. Mr Keynan argues that most proposed society would find employment prospects for former MPs through scouting for consultancy opportunities for them. The society would be Statefunded, in addition to obtaining funding from bilateral or multilateral donors, gifts, grants, donations and endowments. The society would be run by a board made up of a chairperson elected by former members, the Finance Principal Secretary, three members elected by former MPs from amongst themselves, one serving MP, one serving Senator, the Clerks of both Houses, and a chief executive (ex-officio member), who shall be secretary to the society. Curiously, Mr Keynan wants a psychiatrist to be appointed by the Planning and Devolution Cabinet Secretary, under which the society would fall, to sit on the board. In appointing the board members, the cabinet secretary must give preference to former MPs and observe gender balance, and ethnic and regional diversity. All appointments must be approved by the National Assembly.
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