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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid