News / Africa

Protesters Decry Kenyan Legislators' Attempt to Raise Salaries

Kenyan demonstrators display placards during a protest, in Nairobi, Kenya, May 14, 2013.
Kenyan demonstrators display placards during a protest, in Nairobi, Kenya, May 14, 2013.
Riot police in Kenya fired teargas and water cannons Tuesday to disperse more than 200 demonstrators gathered outside parliament to protest a push by legislators to raise their salaries, as the national economy struggles.

Kenyan protesters denounced newly-elected members of parliament for burdening ordinary citizens by asking for a pay raise before taking up important legislative work.

Demonstrators poured animal blood at the gate of the parliament building and brought dozens of pigs to feed on the blood, symbolizing the greed of the Kenyan lawmakers.

One protester, Fredrick Odol, said if the lawmakers are not satisfied with what they are paid they should resign.  

“I am demonstrating basically because we are refusing hefty payment to the parliamentarians," said Odol. "We  consider it as greed and we are telling them if they cannot accept the payment they are given by the salary and remuneration commission they should resign.  We are not desperate for leaders.”  

On March 4, the salary and remuneration commission revised lawmakers’ salaries down from $10,240 to $6,400 per month.

In reaction, members of parliament called for disbanding the commission, which was established in 2011 to set pay rates for public officers.

Another protester, Michele Emali, a third year student at the University of Nairobi, says the voters are to be blamed for electing such leaders into office.  

“We should blame ourselves as Kenyans because we are the ones who voted for the MP’s and we were advised to vote wisely, which we did not," said Emali.  

Human rights lawyer Harun Ndubi says members of parliament have fallen into the habit of increasing their salaries as they wish.  

“Parliament has been the only public institution that has been regulating and determining its own salaries contrary to public expectations, contrary to public policy, and therefore this is the expression of people’s anger," said Ndubi.

The previous parliament also attempted to raise its salaries and award themselves retirement perks before leaving office earlier this year.  The move was vetoed by outgoing president Mwai Kibaki.

Newly-elected President Uhuru Kenyatta, in his first address to the parliament last month, expressed concern the cost of public wages is too high, and stated his desire to bring it down.    

Kenya spends 12 percent of gross domestic product on public wages.

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More