News / Africa

Kenyans Outraged Over MP Pay Package

Kenyans demonstrate against their Members of Parliament who last week quietly awarded themselves a $110,000 bonus for five years of service in parliament, in downtown Nairobi, Kenya, October 9, 2012.Kenyans demonstrate against their Members of Parliament who last week quietly awarded themselves a $110,000 bonus for five years of service in parliament, in downtown Nairobi, Kenya, October 9, 2012.
x
Kenyans demonstrate against their Members of Parliament who last week quietly awarded themselves a $110,000 bonus for five years of service in parliament, in downtown Nairobi, Kenya, October 9, 2012.
Kenyans demonstrate against their Members of Parliament who last week quietly awarded themselves a $110,000 bonus for five years of service in parliament, in downtown Nairobi, Kenya, October 9, 2012.
Gabe Joselow
Kenyans are venting their anger over a late-night decision by the country's parliament to grant lawmakers lavish retirement benefits including a $100,000 bonus and other perks. An online campaign is underway to stop the president from signing the bill.

In one of their last sessions of the year, members of the Kenyan parliament passed a retirement bill that would give each member a hefty bonus, bodyguards for life, private chauffeurs and a state funeral.
 
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki rejected a previous iteration of the bill a month ago. But this time, lawmakers have tacked it onto another order that would also award the president a $300,000 bonus on his retirement next year.
 
The new amendments were introduced late Wednesday night and made public on Thursday. Kenya's Nation Newspaper reports some of the changes were handwritten on a piece of paper signed by the finance minister.
 
The public fallout of the bill took to Twitter on Friday, as angry citizens voiced their outrage on the popular social media site - deriding members of parliament as “MPigs.”
 
A popular Kenyan blogger Robert Alai has been leading the online charge against the lawmakers who he says are already overpaid.

“I don't feel that the country needs to give the MPs such amount of money after serving just five years. And very few of us in employment or running our businesses can get to decide to go out with such a pay package after just five years," he said. "You know, it's kind of ridiculous.”
 
Alai orchestrated a street protest the last time the parliament tried to pass the benefits bill, and says he is planning similar action for next week, which may include a mock state funeral.
 
The online campaign drew the attention of Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who denounced the retirement package on his Twitter account, saying the two bills “border on criminality.”
 
Alai says social media has been able to succeed in empowering citizens where the country's traditional media have fallen short.
 
“If it were not for social media, I think some of us would not be as much vocal because the problem is that the mainstream media is still majorly owned by the leaders or the politicians themselves," Alai noted. "So social media has been a great godsend to us.”

As the country waits for President Kibaki to make his decision on whether to approve or veto the bills, Kenyans online are joking that they hope members of parliament get those state funerals they have asked for.

You May Like

Photogallery Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had earlier warned storm could be one of worst the city has ever faced More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid