Sunday, December 28, 2008

Open letter to Members of Parliament

28th DECEMBER 2008

This is letter from Mwananchi addressed to you Honourable Members of Parliament through the people’s platform Bunge la Mwananchi:

  • Hon. Anyang’ Nyong’o, African Research and Resource Forum (ARRF);
  • Hon. James Orengo, Law Society of Kenya (LSK)/former member, NCEC;
  • Hon. Martha Karua, Law Society of Kenya (LSK);
  • Hon. Cecily Mbarire, former Co-ordinator, Youth Agenda (YAA);
  • Hon. Kabando wa Kabando, former student leader;
  • Hon. Sheikh Dor, Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI);
  • Hon. Millie Odhiambo, The Child Rights Advisory Centre (CRADLE);
  • Hon. Gitobu Imanyara, Law Society of Kenya (LSK);
  • Hon. Sophia Abdi, WOMANKIND;
  • Hon. Rachel Shebesh;
  • Hon. Ababu Namwamba, Chambers of Justice (COJ), Law Society of Kenya (LSK), Cancel Debt for the Child Campaign;
  • Hon. Bonny Khalwale, NCEC, male rep. Western Province in NCA;
  • Hon. Kilemi Mwiria, former Deputy Secretary General, UASU;
  • Hon. Mutava Musyimi, former Secretary General, National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK);
  • Hon. Linah Jebii Kilimo, Education Centre for Women in Democracy (ECWD), Co-ordinator, Stop FGM Campaign, Rift Valley;
  • Hon. Danson Mungatana, Law Society of Kenya (LSK)/former member, Amnesty International (AI); and
  • Hon. Peter Munya, Law Society of Kenya (LSK), former Kenya Law Students’ Society Chair.
Honourable citizens, Bunge la Mwananchi remembers with nostalgia that the very ideals that we fight for today such as human rights, equality, democracy, freedom, democratic constitution, political accountability and transparency, sustainable development and people sensitive leadership, were ideals that you once believed in, spoke eloquently about and worked hard to achieve before you entered the August house. Indeed, in fighting for these ideals, you even experienced the heavy hand of the government’s oppressive machinery as you voiced your concern for the rights of all Kenyans particularly the rights of children, youth, women and other marginalized, vulnerable and poverty stricken groups, advocated for the development of marginalized areas such as Northern and Coastal areas of Kenya and preached the right to food; right to better housing; right to work; right to education and right to health care.

Because we are convinced that you still believe in these ideals and we have faith that each of you is still part of the struggle to make the abovementioned ideals a reality, through this letter Mwananchi calls upon you to demonstrate your undying commitment to those ideals, by paying tax on your allowances.

We know that you are each aware that if the 17 of you, listed above, joined the Mwananchi movement to pressure Members of Parliament to pay taxes on their allowances; you are more than able to convince 222 legislators to pay up their taxes. Honourable Member of Parliament, do you know that from this patriotic act, our exchequer would raise over K.Shs. 3 billion in the 10th Parliament which can form “sufficient aid” towards resettlement of IDPs, resettlement of persons from the Mau Forest, providing food to starving thousands in Eastern, North Eastern and Coast provinces where there is a looming famine, subsidising agriculture to develop food security, investment in development projects, improving infrastructure, providing free secondary education and reducing youth unemployment?

Indeed, as Members of Parliament you are no longer activists but policy makers which means that you now have the AUTHORITY, the POWER, the TOOLS OF STATE and the RESOURCES needed to practice that which you held dear as activists. Today, you have been presented with a messiahnic opportunity to address the very issues that you identified as pertinent during your activist past. Unfortunately, we have seen so little by way of action from you in your new status as lawmakers. In the Kenyan public mind, paying taxes on your allowances would be a great first step towards persuading us of your commitment to our priority development issues as summarised above and towards the shared dream of 40 million Kenyans – that another Kenya is possible!

Kenyan taxpayers and voters represented through Bunge la Mwananchi would like to know when you are writing your cheque to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) remitting your taxes on your respective allowances so that we can accompany you in solidarity as you join the roll of honour of the Kenyan taxpayers army.

Bunge la Mwananchi is a people’s movement mobilizing and organizing 40 million Kenyans to resist oppression, fight for social justice and demand for responsive and accountable leadership at all levels in Kenya; and also a member of the Kenya National Civil Society Congress (NCSC).
We anticipate your quick response and appropriate action!

Yours in the struggle for a Just and Equitable Society,
Bunge la Mwananchi

ODM, NARC-K, PNU and ODM-K Head Quarters


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