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Public anger over MPs’ ‘financial’ benchmarking trip to Dubai in the middle of a pandemic

Kenyans have been angered by a decision by more than a dozen Members of Parliament have spent millions of shillings on a benchmarking trip to Dubai, in the UAE.

Nyali MP Mohammed Ali, who shared several pictures on social media, said they were in Dubai to attend a ‘Masterclass training in public financial management and administration’.

“Dubai – With other Members of Parliament Attending Masterclass training in public financial management and administration,” he tweeted.

DUBAI- With other Members of Parliament Attending Masterclass training in public financial management and administration

— Mohammed Ali, HSC (@MohaJichoPevu) March 15, 2021

Ali, a supporter of Deputy President William Ruto’s ‘hustler nation’, who has also been sharing photos while in Dubai in the last few days, irked Kenyans with this latest tweet.

The MPs might have been in the Gulf nation for a week going by the Nyali MP’s timeline, which means they have pocketed at least Sh500,000 of taxpayer’s money in per diem so far.

In 2019, six MPs traveled to the UK, where each received Sh110,800 per day for the five days they spent there studying how the assembly there takes care of legislators.

In yet another trip, six MPs flew to Northern Ireland for five days and pocketed Sh110,800 daily as another four-member delegation went to India where each was paid Sh81,700 per day for nine days.

This is what has infuriated members of the public who expressed their anger on social media, accusing their MPs of choosing their own needs over the majority suffering Kenyans, coming as the country is battling economic challenges and a fresh surge in covid-19 cases in the deadlier third wave of the virus.

Kenyans on social media wondered why the legislators did not, for example, use the Kenya School of Government, founded under an Act of Parliament with the mandate to transform the Public Service through human resource capacity development, or conduct the training on Zoom.

Here are some of the reactions:

You failed the first test of ‘public financial management and administration’ because, common sense dictates that it would have been much cheaper to ‘import’ the trainer than to ‘export’ all of you. Can you do a cost/benefit analysis? Couldn’t you also have considered a webinar?

— John Ogola (@jjogola) March 15, 2021

KIA, KIM & other local institutions who can offer even better training zilifungwa?

— JohnRoyMwaniki (@JohnRoyMwaniki) March 16, 2021

First off I disqualify the lecture. How does he train on public financial management and administration but could not warn you that it’s unwise to meet him but rather to let him come to Kenya.

— Vic (@1victormutero) March 16, 2021

Who is financing this trip to Dubai? Couldn’t you people just fly in the people conducting the training or you had to go to Dubai so as to be able to understand well? Then you will come home to sing about BBI negatives?

— Abdi said (@Abdibinsaid) March 15, 2021

‘Attending Masterclass (not just class training) in public financial management and administration’… When does this get implemented? Is it just for knowledge and not implementation? How come we don’t apply this in the real world?

— Ann Chepkoech (@chepkoech_ann) March 15, 2021

Kenyans also noticed one peculiar habit by the MPs during the training and called them out:

Ati masterclass and everyone is on his phone??? Kenya we have a problem.

— Sir Salat (@abdulabdow) March 15, 2021

With 70% of the participants glued to their mobile phones. What a Masterclass training 🙃

— MUHAMMAD ONYANGO® (@Moha001_Onyango) March 16, 2021

Then we can see they are busy studying on their phones.

— Mohammed Hersi (@mohammedhersi) March 16, 2021

This is awesome. This time round guys carried with them writing materials. Stay away from phones during training and concentrate.

— Nada (@stayhome_ED) March 16, 2021

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