There was a time when a good number of Parliamentarians were illiterate. Those days you could excuse them whenever they talked foul, fought or simply appeared dumb. But since the elections of 2002 Parliament has been graced by Professors, top Economists, Lawyers, Doctors, Engineers, Tech Geeks, and Informed Public Members. I remember there was a requirement that Parliamentarians ought to at least have a basic bachelors degree to be in Parliament.Did they delete that requirement from the Act?
No, our Honorable Members of Parliament have not failed to fall short of the glory of academia. In 2009 Coca Cola agreed, through a legal three year contract, to give the Sports Ministry 1.5 million dollars to rename Nyayo Stadium to Coca Cola Stadium. The deal never saw the light of day. Reasons, the word Nyayo is too prestigious to be replaced for $1.5 million. Parliament stands to be blamed, right?
Wrong. It’s hardly two weeks since Kenyans were all over the radios, TVs and social media crying foul over the Samsung ad at the neck of KICC. The reasoning? KICC is such a landmark, iconic, historical and religious building that ought not to have a commercial emblem at the neck. Read: Samsung’s KICC ad: A classic example of obstinate Kenyans and KICC is a Commercial Center in A Commercial City- Let the Samsung ad be for insights on our take about the Samsung KICC saga.
That’s why I’m surprised that now a number of Kenyans are against Parliamentarians who are talking dumb about the Safaricom Kasarani Stadium. Aren’t the reasons members of Parliament giving for opposing the Safaricom-SSMB deal valid? Don’t we owe a lot to Moi for having brought us closer to vision 2030 after his 24 years of good leadership? Isn’t Moi International Sports Stadium one of the best in Africa thanks to his name tag that was donated to the facility?
That aside, as a country we need to understand that we have to develop. We also need to understand that we cannot develop by over taxing Kenyans. According to a report released by PWC, Kenyans are among the most taxed globally yet according to another analysis that I can’t lay my hands to right now, a country cannot develop by over taxation. To develop away from taxation, a viable solution that even the Members of Parliament have acknowledged is by nourishing a well structured Public Private Partnership. In this regard the private sector will be required to assist in developing national infrastructures such as the National Stadia but the private sector in question must of course get adequate returns on investment.
However, the private sectors that have been willing to upgrade our dilapidated stadia have not received any love from the public; whether the public is you and me or the the elected few who indeed represent our collective interest. Coca cola agreed to spend Shs 320 million and transform Nyayo stadium into a world class facility, and so has Safaricom agreed to spend Shs 155 million to upgrade Moi Sports Center into a world class status in addition to paying Shs 55 million to have the Stadium renamed to Safaricom Kasarani Stadium in the next two years.
Kasarani deal means that the SSMB will forgo spending the Shs 155 million needed to upgrade the stadium to the first class facility but rather take in Shs 55 million (I would say free money) and have Safaricom do the dirty work. Better still, SSMB won’t forgo the gate collection fees as they still remain in charge of managing the stadium. What does Safaricom benefit from all these? Just have the Stadium (not the entire complex) called Safaricom.
But some dumb politicians think the word Moi is too prestigious a name to be forgone for a whooping two years. They argue that Safaricom should be required to pay more for the name, though they have not quantified how much Moi’s name is worth for the deal. They further argued that renaming the Kasarani Stadium to Safaricom would delete the 24 years of economic and democratic development Moi gave the beloved Nation. Really? Aren’t these histories recorded in the infamous Kenya Times and are also kept in KBC and the then VoK video libraries? I would like to assure them of one thing though, as long as I live, I will never forget the name Moi. I have friends named Moi. We have Roads, Airports, Primary Schools, Secondary Schools, a Public University with several campuses, etc all named after him. Even if we were to rename all these, Wikipedia has an article dedicated to him. It’s a matter of world knowledge that a country called Kenya exist(ed) and in that country, the second president was called Daniel Toroitich arap Moi.
If the type of arguments we sometimes get from hour Honorable Members are to be tolerated, then our dreams of world class infrastructure should be buried deep in the sand.