Nairobi, Kenya – Protesting the proposed hike of Kenyan parliamentarians’ pay, civil society activists took to the streets of the capital, Nairobi, to protest against what they branded the “greed” of MPs.
Around 200 people marched through the streets of the central business district, intending to “Occupy Parliament”, taking inspiration from the US Wall Street protest movement.
Kenyan MPs are among the world’s best-paid law-makers, and last month President Uhuru Kenyatta urged them to accept a pay cut which would have seen their annual salaries reduced from $126,000 to $78,000. Yet the previous day, the MPs had voted to raise their salaries to 130 times the country’s minimum wage. The average annual income is approximately $1,800 in Kenya, or $150 a month.
When the protesters reached parliament, they were blocked from entering by anti-riot police. Carrying an effigy of a pig, having branded the MPs “MPigs”, they threw gallons of animal blood around the area and tossed mock bank-notes in the air.
“The country is strained by an expanding domestic budget,” the organisers said in a manifesto distributed at the protest, who said they were concerned by the MPs’ “heavy wage bill on our struggling economy”.
Following Tuesday’s protests, Kenyan MPs settled on a deal which will see them receive $6,300 each month, or $75,600 annually. They will also be entitled to a $59,500 car grant, a tax-free mileage allowance and a significant pension.