Taming Kenyan lawmakers’ insatiability using the law, may not be feasible. And kicking them out through the ballot sometimes proves futile.
History has shown that successive parliaments have largely failed the people who elected them.
As one legislator infamously remarked when caught on the wrong some years back; they make and can unmake the law, depending on their interests.
A first-term MP from northern Kenya was last week quoted boasting that they will not stop inventing new ways of making money.
“We will always find a way around things. Allowances are never pegged on any regulations,” the MP told a Nation reporter.
However, the MPs continued cavalier attitude could push people to unconventional ways of taming their constant want for more. There have been many precedents of this before across the world.
Take for instance, Burkina Faso. Like many others, the country’s parliament had become increasingly self-serving, relegating the interests of the electorates.
Come 2014, as the House was in the process of amending the constitution to lift the limit on presidential terms for Blaise Compaore to extend his 27-year-rule, protesters stormed the National Assembly building in the capital, Ouagadougou, ransacked offices and set cars ablaze, before attacking the national television headquarters.
In one fell swoop; the MPs’ move was scuttled and although at least five people were killed in the protests that ensued, the government collapsed and President Campaore was forced into a humiliating resignation, and condemned to a life in exile.
Borrowing a leaf from the Burkinabes, disappointed Macedonians on April 27 this year stormed parliament following corruption allegations in the House.
The legislators were accused of sabotaging the formation of a new government, following the parliamentary election the previous year, to ensure they did not lose power that could expose them to facing prosecution for corruption.
The more than 200 demonstrators, many of them wearing masks, broke through a police barricade and stormed the country’s parliament.
They also protested the election of a new speaker despite the long standing stalemate in talks to form a new government.
They yelled and threw chairs, attacking the MPs, including the then opposition leader, Zoran Zaev, leaving him bleeding from the forehead.
Waving their national flag, the protesters called the legislators traitors.
The country’s president, Gjorge Ivanov, eventually called for calm and said he had summoned the leaders of the country’s main political parties for a meeting.
Just last month, protesters demanding the withdrawal of a bill that would allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland stormed the Hong Kong parliament.
The occupation of the legislature at night coincided with a massive peaceful protest in which organisers said more than half a million people marched through the city. The standoff however remains unresolved.
In June this year, in Georgian capital, Tbilisi, up to 10,000 protesters gathered outside the country’s parliament and attempted to storm the building, prompting riot police to fire tear gas and rubber bullets, which left more than 200 people injured in the clashes that ensued.
The protests came amid widespread public anger over a visit by a Russian legislator, Sergey Gavrilov, who addressed an assembly of MPs from the seat of the speaker.
The Russian MP’s presence in the pro-Western Georgian parliament provoked the anger in the former Soviet nation.
In 2008, the country had fought and lost a short-lived yet bloody war with Russia over the autonomous regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Police fired rubber bullets, tear gas, and water cannon at the protesters as they tried to break through riot barriers to enter the building’s courtyard.
Parliament Speaker, Irakli Kobakhidzey announced his resignation — which was one of the protesters’ demands.
President Salome Zourabichvili then condemned the Russian MP’s action terming it a major crime, as she appealed for calm.
In 2001, thousands of Indonesian students broke down parliament gates and demanded that President Abdurrahman Wahid quits over his alleged involvement in two scandals.
As the protests raged outside with police engaging the nearly 10,000 students, lawmakers met in closed session inside the heavily guarded parliament to get the results of an investigation into the two scandals.
In February 2019, in Tirana, Albania, police battled with protesters largely made up of opposition supporters, who attempted to storm parliament where legislators were voting on two then crucial justice reform structures.