In 2008 soon after MPs were elected to their posts they started getting calls from constituents requesting for voucher recharges and many complied.
It was from then that our political thinking and culture took a very wrong turn with people expecting soelra and gifts from politicians for their votes.
The trend set then makes our MPs and even ministers suffer to this day. The Prime Minister got up in Parliament to say that how much he and other elected leaders have to keep spending from their pockets and not much is left behind.
Many MPs talk of how they spend huge amounts in such soleras by the end of their term.
This solera culture has an unexpected side effect as then MPs fight tooth and nail in the Parliament to increase their pay and allowances and other perks only so that they can afford this high expenditure lifestyle.
This is why MPs since the last three Parliaments despite public criticism have not hesitated to grab the largest share of the pie.
Another wrong political culture is in terms of the people’s view especially in rural areas that MPs should drive a big car. In the first Parliament some MPs delighted with the Nu 700,000 then bought small cars and saved the rest of the money, but the reaction they got from villagers led them to buy bigger cars.
Many MPs grieved the loss of the vehicle quota not because they need to buy foreign vehicles, but the quota was being sold for up to Nu 2 mn and this money was used to finance their soelras and other gifts and also serve as a sort of supplementary income.
We see red when MPs clamor for higher pay, allowances and perks in Parliament, but we should also realize that our solera political culture and expectations of politicians mainly in rural areas is not helping.
It takes two hands to clap and so people should stop expecting soleras from MPs and MPs themselves should also stop giving it out so that their pay and allowances are enough.
“Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing.”