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 Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid