Graffitied pigs and buckets of blood on the streets of Nairobi as protests over MPs' pay continue

Anger as lawmakers demand monthly rate of pay that is 131 times Kenya's minimum wage

Nairobi

Pigs were unleashed and blood poured on the streets of Kenya's capital, Nairobi, in a gorey protest against excessive pay for the country's MPs. Kenyan protesters let loose the pigs outside parliament as part of a mounting public backlash against efforts by new MPs to grant themselves an increase to their record-breaking salaries. Demonstrators poured buckets of blood onto a street in the city centre and let a pig and a litter of piglets feed on it. The animals were daubed with graffiti criticising lawmakers who want £6,540 per month or 131 times Kenya's minimum wage.

The protest was broken up by riot police — who earn roughly £100 per month — who fired teargas outside parliament and baton charged a peaceful crowd of about 250 people.

The piglets were meant to symbolise “the greed of the country's legislators,” said anti-corruption campaigners Boniface Mwangi who was among dozens of people arrested after the police broke up the demonstrations at the gates of parliament. It was the latest eye-catching stunt organised by group calling itself Occupy Parliament, “an uprising against collective greed of Kenya's MPs.”

Last month protesters marched to parliament carrying coffins to symbolise the impact on average Kenyans of the money-grubbing by the country's legislators.

Voters overwhelmingly backed a new constitution three years ago which set up a salaries commission to oversee the pay of public officials. The public body found that Kenya's MPs were among the best paid in the world and recommended their annual basic pay be cut from £78,500 to £51,650. Furious new lawmakers, elected in March, have demanded that the commission's findings be overturned and that they be given £45,000 to spend on luxury vehicles, as well as travel expenses, bodyguards and access to VIP flight lounges. The last parliament caused a storm in Kenya when it awarded itself a £70,400 retirement bonus earlier this year.

Despite being East Africa's biggest economy, the vast majority of Kenyans are employed in the informal sector and struggle to make even the £50 per month minimum wage. Kenya's expanded legislature includes 349 MPs and 67 senators. The public wage bill has exploded in recent years to account for 80 percent of recurrent expenditure while economic growth has lagged behind the sub-Saharan African average of five percent. A recent Harvard study said that without rampant corruption and bad governance Kenya would be growing by seven percent per year and be on course to become a middle income country by 2018.

Global graft watchdog Transparency International has Kenya among its worst performers in its annual index. The pay protests come one week after a Kenyan judge threw out a long-standing case the man accused of masterminding the Goldenberg scandal. The scheme saw vast payments made by the government as export credits for non-existent gold and diamonds. The main vehicle for the scandal was Goldenberg International, a firm set up by Indian businessman Kamlesh Pattni, against whom charges have now been dropped. Mr Pattni, who claims to be a preacher, recently underwent a conversion to Christianity and made a failed attempt to win a seat in parliament.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins wins the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Davidson performs his comedy show at Edinburgh Festival 2014
TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Finance Manager - Central London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Business Development Manager

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: IT Buyer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This award winning IT company are currently re...

Recruitment Genius: IT Account Manager

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor