A recent report by Investopedia placed Raila Odinga as the 3rd highest paid politician in the world – earning more than the US president, UK prime minister and even funny enough, more than Kenya’s president, Mwai Kibaki. The same report went further to indicate that Raila earns 240 times more than the country’s GDP per person, making him the World’s highest paid politician on that ratio.
The graph below compares this data with other countries.
Now, I will take a different turn on this story. Raila wants to be president of this country. Through his businesses, he is already one of the richest people in the country. I would like to just look at a few possibilities here and I would love it if you walked with me through it.
How is it possible that he earns more than Kibaki?
We all know that Kibaki is the CEO and the commander in chief of Kenya. In a natural assumption, he should be earning higher than the prime minister who is either placed second or third on this ranking after or before the VP (a story for another day). Well, I have no official explanations but I will try and look at the scenarios that would result to this. The most likely explanation is the fact that the post of the PM was created under his negotiation, which means he negotiated his mandate, role in government and his salary and allowances. Remember the $427,886 (approximately Kshs. 42,788,600 – about 3.56m per month) is only his basic salary. Now let me rephrase that. While Kenyans were butchering each other in his support, he was behind closed doors with international standard security negotiating how for the next 5 years he will make 213,943,000 shillings from the dying Kenyan economy. If this were the scenario, I would say that is probably the most selfish, heartless and undeserving leadership this country would ever get.
Clearly, something is not right. We have people still living in tents, I do not even want to imagine their life during this rainy season. The people who lost their lives and those who were displaced suffered because ODM called for mass action to contest the disputed elections in 2007. They paid with their lives for Raila to be the prime minister and almost another election year, thousands of Kenyans are still living in IDP camps.
Raila, a known high spender, would have in my opinion fought for the IDPs resettlement if he was a genuine leader who cared about this country. This also includes other senior leaders in government. Kenya went down to the lowest it has been since the Maumau struggle and the best these politicians would give it is reconciliation.
The media seems to favor Raila too much and when these kind of reports are published, they do not make it to the local media since they will not be doing him any good. Just recently, Forbes published Uhuru Kenyatta as one of Africa’s richest billionaires and it actually made headlines.
Kenya is in serious need of leadership. I would say this coalition government has failed and one of the reasons why it has is because of lack of opposition. Everyone is in government. There is only opposition within with enough people trying to protect their own personal interests. Kenya needs a government and a working opposition like we had between 1997 and 2002. Kenyans deserve service delivery and selfless leaders who can make decisions based on the needs of the electorate and not their own selfish issues.