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

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid