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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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: http://www.mangomap.com/maps/user/2908/politicians%20salaries#

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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
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 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 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.

All About America

AppleAndroid