Kenya's president vetoes attempt by MPs to award themselves huge pay-off
Kenya's president has vetoed an attempt by MPs in the country to award themselves a pay-off worth £16m after it prompted furious public protests.
There was widespread anger in the economically troubled East African nation after a secretive move last Thursday to amend a finance bill to include a lucrative golden handshake of £69,000 each for MPs whose term ends in January. The parliamentarians must now decide whether to challenge the president, Mwai Kibaki, and attempt to overturn the veto with a fresh vote that would require a two-thirds majority.
Kenyan MPs are already among the most richly remunerated in the world with a monthly pay packet of £6,546 in a country where the minimum wage for those in work is less than £80 a month. When news of their latest pay hike broke demonstrators thronged the capital, Nairobi, with placards reading: “You can't have my money for greedy MPs” and “Not my taxes, give them rats”.
Historically greedy legislators were stripped of the right to vote themselves pay rises under the terms of a new constitution, which was backed two years ago by a majority of Kenyans. During the last pay round in 2010, MPs tried to bump their monthly take-home by 25 per cent up to £8,384 but were blocked by the prime minister in response to public protests.
A new independent body, the Salaries and Remunerations Commission, was established to set rates of public sector pay but some MPs used a procedural trick to make a grab for more money.
Late on Thursday night an unannounced amendment to the finance bill was introduced and passed with only 30 of the country's 222 MPs present. The severance pay would have applied to all of the country's MPs as constituencies have been redrawn since the last election and parliament is being expanded to 349 members.
The sly effort to pad MPs' wages comes after a wave of public sector strikes have hit Kenya with teachers, doctors and other civil servants demanding pay rises in line with the rising cost of living. The government allowed schools to close and hospitals to be left unmanned for several weeks as it insisted that there was no money for salary increases.
Mwalimu Mati, the head of Mars Group, a Kenyan corruption watchdog, said: “We note that yet again [MPs] and the parliamentary service commission have abused their privileges and disregarded all rules of decency... to yet again enact increases to their personal remuneration and allowances.”
Kenya's MPs are generally seen to be underperforming despite the extraordinary benefits they demand. A recent Harvard study said that Kenya's economy should be growing by 7 per cent a year, whereas growth in the last quarter was 3.5 per cent. Fewer than 4 out of 10 Kenyans believe the popular new constitution will be fully implemented, according to a recent survey by the pollster Gallup.
Questions were also asked over a recent refurbishment of the parliament in Nairobi where a contract was awarded to a foreign firm to produce £3,125 seats for the new intake of MPs. That tender was cancelled and a new one given to the Kenyan prisons service who produced 350 red leather seats for £1,875 each.
Kenya's empty coffers and the recent public sector pay rounds have already resulted in a raft of new taxes that may damage the country's growth prospects. A new 10 per cent tariff will hit mobile money transfers — one of Kenya's global success stories — as well as ATM withdrawals and other financial transactions. The government in Nairobi is already spending 60 per cent of its budget on recurrent expenditure, the bulk of which is made up by public sector salaries.
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
Like Madonna, Sister Cristina Scuccia's video is also set in Venice
Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'
techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say
Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
Some experiencing postnatal depression don't realise there is a problem. What can be done?
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 4 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 5 The inventor of the Facebook 'like' button says he never made a 'dislike' button because he feared the 'unfortunate consequences'
Ukraine crisis: Donetsk 'tactical missile' explosion at factory sends blast wave across rebel-held city
Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
Oscar de la Renta dead: Legendary US fashion designer dies after long cancer battle aged 82
Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
Super-sized ships arrive in Britain: How big can they get?
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
Lord Freud hangs on as MPs of all parties 'call for his head' over disability comments
£23000 - £26000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery NurseI am currently...
£21000 - £34000 per annum + Excellent rates of pay, CPD, Support : Randstad Ed...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery nurse required for ...