Speaker of the National Assembly Richard Msowoya is coming under heavy criticism after reports emerged that he approved that Parliament should procure laptops for MPs at a bloated price of K1.1 million each.
An HP laptop costs about K400, 000 each meaning that Msowoya authorized the purchase of the same at more than K600, 000 above the normal price.
In simple arithmentic, at K1.1 million per laptop for 193 MPs, it means the Speaker, for whatever motives, has allowed Parliament to use about K212.3 million.
If the gadgets had been procured at normal market price of around K400,000, the National Assembly would have used just K77.2 million. This means Msowoya who is controlling officer led the House into misusing a whopping K135.1 million in the laptop deal.
Meanwhile, some Legislators are contemplating returning the substandard gadget, and start pushing for a full investigation into the procurement of the same.
Most of the MPs want an explanation from Msowoya, as the highest authority at Parliament on how a an HP laptop with 2 GB RAM, 500 GB hard disk drives, pre-installed windows 7 with office 2007 and without HDMI ports and Video cards, can cost K1.1 million when an updated version of the same costs not more than K400, 000.
Comenting on the matter, economic and political analyst Bashir Siyani expressed shock at how the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament which is always on accountability issues has decided to be silent on the matter.
Said Siyani: “Hypocrites, so they are called. Speaking and doing what’s contrary to their speeches. If these so called MPs are patriotic, as some claim to be, there shouldn’t have been silence on the pricing of the laptop. But, they can’t speak, they are all beneficiaries. They are not that different. The only difference is that the others are in the possession of the ball as the rest are marking. The rest are not proving to be better than the other. The noise is as a result of them being on a dry land. The “markers” are not showing any sign they could be better than those in possession of the ball. They could be worse. If these laptops were shared amongst the ruling, they, the markers, could have pretended they sympathize with us the common people. They could have mobilised our feelings to rage against the other group. But hey, they have benefited. They are silent. They don’t think K1.1 million is way too high. They are hypocrites,” he said.