MDG 5, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND MATERNAL HEALTH IN AFRICA
as noted previously, enjoys the same status as minimum core obligations.255
As argued elsewhere, the dismal state of health in Africa derives not
from resource constraints but rests squarely on other factors, the most
critical being kleptocracy.256 But aside from overt corruption, another
insidious factor derailing progress on any significant front is
misprioritization – in other words, wrong choices regarding how public
resources are spent.. Thus, although Kenya and Nigeria notoriously lag
behind many nations, particularly those in the West, in any known indices
of wellbeing (education, shelter, health, infrastructure, industrial
development and so forth), parliamentarians in both countries are grossly
better remunerated than their peers anywhere in the world.257 Legislators in
Kenya earn an annual pay package of $175,000258 whereas a senator in
Nigeria receives $1.7 million in annual salaries and allowances, and
members of the House of Representatives are each paid $1.45 million per
annum.259 Contrast this brazen avarice and profligacy with the situation in
the United States, the world’s wealthiest nation, where senators are paid
$174,000 in total annual compensation package.260 What accounts for the
difference? Unlike their counterparts elsewhere, political elites in Africa
tend to think of themselves first, their associates and relatives second, and
the people last. In the vast majority of the countries in the region, lavish
and ostentatious lifestyles have supplanted the peoples’ business, including
health and health care, as the reason for seeking leadership positions.
Irresponsible governance holds sway even as lives of pregnant women are
lost daily on account of the deficit of health care and social or underlying
255. See supra text accompanying notes 217– 231.
256. See Kleptocracy, supra note 145, at 10-11; Nnamuchi & Ortuanya, supra note 4, at
257. Jason Straziuso, Kenya Outraged Over Parliament’s $175K Pay Vote,
BOSTON.COM (July 2, 2010), http://www.boston.com/news/world/africa/articles/2010/07/02/
kenya_outraged_over_parliaments_175k_pay_vote/; Bureaucracy Still Swallows Largest
Chunk of 2012 Budget, Nigerian Voice (Dec 14, 2011), http://www.thenigerianvoice.com/
nvnews/77577/1/ bureaucracy-still-swallows-largest-chunk-of-2012-b.html; Everest
Amaefule & Ifeanyi Onuba, Monthly Pay: Senators Earn N15.18m Each, Reps N10.59m –
Investigation, NBF TOPICS (Dec. 6, 2010), http://www.nigerianbestforum.com/
investigation/ (reporting also that members of the House of Representatives receive $70,000
monthly pay; currency converted at the exchange rate of 1 USD = 151.780 NGN, as of Dec.
8, 2010); Senate Historical Office, Senate Salaries since 1789 [hereinafter Senate Salaries],
visited Oct. 12, 2013).
258. See Straziuso, supra note 257.
259. See Bureaucracy Still Swallows Largest Chunk of 2012 Budget, supra note 257; see
Amaefule & Onuba, supra note 257.
260. See Senate Salaries, supra note 257.