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Week of horror for MPs as numbers leaked, phones bombarded with calls and texts

MPs have endured a wild week after their phone numbers were shared publicly in the week leading to the tabling of the Finance Bill 2024 to the parliament.

Discontented youth sought to engage with their legislative representatives to express their dissenting opinions. They also meant to remind them to reject the bill.

That saw the unleashing of a barrage of insults, threats, and other forms of harassment directed at the legislators.

“…calls were overwhelming, phones battery survived barely for 15mins. The biggest tragedy was lack of content even if one opted to engage them,” lamented the majority whip in the parliament Silvanus Osoro, adding that some even became vulgar.

He went on: “Vulgar language was their order with unprintable names. We were left wondering whether this generation was raised well. We can only sympathize with their time to lead.”

The general tone of the citizens who were unrelenting was dissent and scepticism of their representatives.

Many people, in particular, flooded MPs with messages threatening electoral repercussions if they supported the bill.

One message, indicative of the general sentiment, read, “If you pass this bill, forget about being elected again.”

Most of the MPs’ publicly known phone numbers are switched off. In a bid to verify the authenticity of the shared numbers, MPs received numerous monetary transfers via mobile money services – just to confirm the recipients.

“A lot of people were sending me small amounts of money, sometimes as little as one bob, likely to verify if it was me. Others requested that I send them money,” Kimilili MP Didmas Barasa told Nation.Africa.

“I received around Sh125,000, which made me realize I have fans out there. Some people asked why I voted ‘yes’ and expressed disappointment. But when I asked them to explain the bill, they didn’t understand it.”

The Kimilili MP said the “experience made me realise the extent of my fan base, and I’m even considering running for the presidential seat in 2032.”

The situation escalated further as some individuals threatened to expose the MPs’ private lives and alleged misdeeds.

These threats have heightened the anxiety among the parliamentarians, with some expressing fears over their safety and that of their families.

On the floor of the house, the National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah expressed grievances in parliament about being harassed by some Kenyans.

Mr Ichung’wah lamented that their phone numbers had been circulated on social media, compelling them to block their phones. He also mentioned that MPs had to block certain social media platforms as a result.

“I know many of these members including myself have suffered a lot of harassment. I asked the minority leader whether he had suffered the same and he told me his phone was worse. Many of these Members of Parliament, you cannot reach them on their phones because they have blocked their phones including WhatsApp,” said the Kikuyu MP.

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