According to the latest reports, there are 22 candidates for the Ndhiwa parliamentary seat; 11 candidates for the Kangema parliamentary seat; and - depending on whom you believe - between six and eight candidates for Kajiado North. All this ambition is channeled towards obtaining an office which the winner will only hold for three months, before having to embark on yet another grueling round of campaigns.
This amazing show of civic spirit can be looked at in two ways: first, that this is just what democracy is about, and the more candidates we have, the broader the choice for the voters. But another way of looking at it, is that Kenyans have developed this love for elected office, not as a means of serving the public, but in the hope of riding the gravy train to personal wealth.
The current parliament has gained notoriety for its many unanimous votes in support of more and greater perks for the MPs. And even now, the game is not yet over: there is a low key, but very determined attempt to ensure that MPs will not only have a handsome send-off package, but also receive what can only be correctly termed as a pension.
It does not take much cynicism to see that the more likely reason for this mass rush for elective office, is that these jobs are considered to be among the most desirable, the most prestigious, and the best paid, in the country. Whether it is the brand new limousines; or the many trips abroad; or the allowances for serving on committees; or the lavishly furnished office; or the newly refurbished debating chamber; in all these, MPs are found to have benefits which even a tycoon would be pleased to enjoy.
And in the circumstances, there is a strong case to be made that what Kenya needs is MPs who are less spectacularly remunerated than is currently the case, so that anyone seeking elective office would necessarily have to be motivated by something other than a desire to fill their own pockets with cash, at the expense of the Kenyan taxpayer.