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'Greedy pig' protest held at Kenya parliament

Demonstrators release dozens of piglets on parliament to protest against a bill that would see pay raise for lawmakers.

Last Modified: 14 May 2013 16:08
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Kenyan demonstrators have released a litter of pigs and poured blood on the pavement outside the gates of parliament in Nairobi to protest a proposed law that would raise wages for parliamentarians.

Police and parliament officials chased the pigs after using tear gas, batons and water cannons to disperse the nearly 250 protesters who marched through downtown Nairobi Tuesday and sat down at the entrance to parliament.

The names of specific MPs has been written on the bodies of some of the pigs, which were rounded up and loaded them onto a lorry.

At least 10 people were arrested.

"We will not allow members of parliament to increase their salaries at will," Okiya Omtatah, one of the protest organisers shouted.

"They are greedy just like the pigs we have brought here," Omtatah added.

Mithika Linturi, a parliamentarian supporting a proposed bill, said the protesters had little regard for the law and that "there are proper channels to air their grievances".

"Kenya is not a banana republic. This premise should be respected," Linturi told reporters as he made his way into parliament, adding that parliamentarians had "a right to their opinions, even if they do not please everyone."

The proposed bill would disband the commission that regulates MP's salaries and thus lead to a pay rise for the law makers.

The bill is the first act of Kenya's parliamentarians since their election in March 4 polls.

Constitutional amendment

Al Jazeera's Nazanine Moshiri, reporting from Nairobi, said that this is about far more than just a a salary increase.

"This is about a change to constitution because this bill would in effect call for a change to the constitution."

Our correspondent said that President  Uhuru Kenyatta would have to make the final decision though. 

Kenyan parliamentarians are already some of the best paid on the continent, although their tax-free monthly salary of some $13,000 in the previous parliament has been cut to around $7,000.

The wages were cut after recommendations by the salaries commission, the body MPs now wish to close.

In January, parliamentarians voted themselves a $107,000 send-off bonus, their last work before parliament closed ahead of elections, after earlier efforts to grant themselves the windfall were vetoed by the then President Mwai Kibaki.

That effort too was blocked.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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