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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs