We are always reading about some parliaments in the region embroiled in financial shenanigans: always on the forefront of milking the positions they occupy for all its worth. The trending subject is the regular passing of bills for salary increments and fringe benefits that always brings divided MPs to ignore their rivalries and stand on the same side.
Being a member of such parliaments is similar to being given a key to the vault. The story goes that some aspirants even seek bank loans for the campaigns because they are sure to reimburse the money very shortly.
So it was quite a breath of fresh air when Rwandan MPs voted down a proposal that would have seen them go on a one month country tour inspecting development projects.
The reason was that it would have cost taxpayers about Rwf 200 million that would have gone to pay MPs’ allowances, accommodation and hiring 4WDs and their drivers. This comes at a time when the government has been on a campaign to reduce travel by government officials and the MPs’ decision makes sense.
But the underlying reason was the law makers did not want to be seen to be interfering with implementation of development projects. Theirs was to bring government officials to account and not duplicate other agencies’ work.
The decision should be applauded and emulated by other government agencies that never miss an opportunity to go on an all-expenses trip, and the never-ending rounds of seminars and workshops. Service to the people does not mean milking them dry for flimsy reasons.