News / Africa

Kenyans Protest Lawmakers' $110K Bonuses

Protester lays down outside Kenyan Parliament to block legislators from leaving, Nairobi, Oct. 9, 2012.
Protester lays down outside Kenyan Parliament to block legislators from leaving, Nairobi, Oct. 9, 2012.
Hundreds of angry Kenyans demonstrated in the streets of the capital Tuesday, outraged by legislators' recent decision to award themselves $110,000 each in a special pay package amid a struggling national economy and government pay demands from public workers.
It has been less than a week since lawmakers granted themselves a sum of more than $24 million and unanimously endorsed a proposal to levy a 10-percent tax on mobile money transfer services to fund it, which means Kenyans will have to foot the bill.

According to The Associated Press, the country's 222 legislators are each paid about $120,000 annually, "one of the highest pay packages in the world when compared to what the lawmakers' constituents make — around $5 a day for the average Kenyan."
Groups of chanting protesters decried members of parliament for burdening ordinary Kenyans by taxing services they rely on.
"We’ve really set a precedent in disproving the notion that Kenyans are pathetic," said Muthoni Maingi, an entrepreneur who helped to organize the demonstration. "Kenyans from all walks of life are completely together in solidarity with the fact that we cannot allow our MPs to impose policies on us that only benefit them.
"It’s about time they pay doctors, teachers, nurses — [that they] did better by us," she added. "In terms of institutions, our children go to school without libraries."
Last month Kenya faced a wave of strikes by public workers demanding pay raises.
Kenyan blogger Robert Alai, who also led Tuesday's protest, said no workers decide how much they should get paid, and that members of parliament should be no different.
“How many of Kenyan workers, the public servants, civil servants, get to decide on how much [they] want to be paid?" he said. "The MPs decide that 'today I am going to get away with 9 million after working for five years.' How many of Kenyans get to away after five years? They got to go home with a bonus of 10 million.
“The middle class Kenyans, the working class Kenyans, the Kenyans of social media — we’ve never got a way to voice our concerns about the MPs," he added, describing the protest as unprecedented. "The MPs have to hear this."
The amended bill to tax mobile services to cover the legislators' bonus has been submitted to Kenya's attorney general and is awaiting the president’s signature.
President Mwai Kibaki, who has not indicated whether he will sign the bill, left the country on Monday to attend two days of talks with his Ugandan counterpart.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: ChrisInCambo from: UK
October 10, 2012 12:27 AM
On a salary to GDP ratio Kenya has the highest paid politicians on earth, closely followed by Singapore.

Check out this interactive webmap that plots the Salary to GDP ratio:

US actually isn't doing so bad. But obviously there's the official salary, then there's the "extras".

by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
October 09, 2012 8:25 PM
All the legislatures in Kenya should be dismissed from the government for the crime of plundering the Kenyan treasury. Their salary of $120,000 is too much in a county when compared to the average income of the citizens and the GDP of Kenya. In addition to their very high salary, a special bonus of $ 110,000 is prime target of the protests. While the Arab spring is pausing, the African Spring is begining.

by: Kensa News from: Nairobi
October 09, 2012 2:54 PM
Just like Kenyan legislators are among the highest paid in the world, they are also the most greedy. It is quite unfortunate, as the country continues to suffer economically. However, there is slight relief after the president rejected the amendments, terming them, unconstitutional.

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs