Kenyans accuse MPs of greed | Africa | DW | 14.05.2013
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Africa

Kenyans accuse MPs of greed

Kenyan rights groups took dozens of pigs to their protests against MPs' pay rise demands. Kenyan lawmakers are demanding their salaries should be raised to more than 100 times the legal minimum wage.

Kenyan police on Tuesday used teargas to disperse at least 200 people who were demonstrating against the country's MPs.

They were angry at lawmakers' demands for a pay hike to about 850,000 Kenyan shillings ($10,000, 7,000 euros).

Currently MPs receive 532,000 shillings monthly after their pay was cut by the country's Salaries and Remunerations Commission (SRC). Protester Jarel Nduba told German news agency dpa that the aim of the protests was to fight the "disgusting behavior" of the people Kenyans had put in power.

"When they ran for the seats, they knew what they were getting into, now they turn around and behave like they had no idea what the salary was," Nduba said, referring to the March general election.

Police hiting people during the protests in Kenya. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Police used tear gas and batons to disperse protestors

During the protest nearly three dozen piglets were released outside parliament to symbolize a political class which is widely regarded as greedy and corrupt.

A greedy act

Kenyan lawmakers are the most highly paid compared with members of parliament across the African continent.

Khalif Khalifa is a board member of the organization Muslims for Human Rights based in the coastal city of Mombasa. He made the 500 km (310 miles) journey to Nairobi to make his voice heard and encourage Kenyans to stand up against the MPs' demands, Khalifa told DW correspondent James Shimanyula.

"The country cannot afford what they are asking for," he said.

The demand for salary hikes for MPs and the demonstrations by members of civil society come at time when the country is suffering from a high disparity between rich and poor, coupled with high unemployment, commented analyst Brian Singoro Wanyama in an interview with DW's Africalink. .

Pigs outside the Kenyan parliament. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

The demonstrators also brought along pigs

Lawmaker Mithika Linturi said the protesters had little regard for the law and should use the proper channels to air their grievances.

"Kenya is not a banana republic. This premise should be respected," Linturi was quoted by AFP as saying.

The Kenyan members of parliaments say they need higher salaries in order to help pay constituents' school fees and hospital bills, as well as to reflect their own stature.

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