Kenyan police fire teargas at protest over MPs’ pay

Riot policemen hit protestors participating in a demonstration against lawmakers' salary demands outside the parliament buildings in the capital Nairobi, May 14, 2013. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya
Riot policemen hit protestors participating in a demonstration against lawmakers’ salary demands outside the parliament buildings in the capital Nairobi, May 14, 2013. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Kenyan police fired teargas and water cannon outside parliament on Tuesday to disperse about 200 people demonstrating against lawmakers’ demands for a salary 130 times the legal minimum wage.

Civil rights groups organized the protest to express widespread anger that politicians are demanding a pay rise so soon after a broadly peaceful election on March 4.

Protesters fed pigs’ blood to live pigs at the gates of parliament in the capital Nairobi to symbolize a political class widely regarded as greedy and corrupt.

Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s new president and its richest man, said last week that holding down the state wage bill was key to directing public funds into economic development.

But the appeal was lost on lawmakers, whose pay has been set at 532,000 shillings ($6,300) per month by the state’s Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).

Handouts by politicians are common in Kenya, and MPs say they need more money to help pay constituents’ school and medical expenses, as well as to reflect their stature.

They are demanding basic monthly pay of about 850,000 shillings, excluding other allowances – similar to what lawmakers were paid during the last parliament.

Kenyatta increased the minimum wage by 14 percent this month to 6,498 shillings ($77.54) a month – although many of the 80 percent of Kenyan workers employed in the informal sector earn less than this.

In January, hundreds of demonstrators torched coffins outside parliament in protest at legislators who had voted to triple their end-of-term bonuses – an increase that outgoing president Mwai Kibaki refused to sign into law.

($1 = 83.80 Kenyan shillings)

(Additional reporting and writing by James Macharia; Editing by Kevin Liffey)


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.