Daily News  :: East Africa

Kenyan president gets 186% pay rise

Published: 08-DEC-06

Nairobi - The Kenyan parliament has awarded President Mwai Kibaki a nearly 186 percent salary increase despite objections from the opposition lawmakers.

The national assembly approved a government motion to raise Kibaki's total basic pay and allowance from the current 1.9mn Kenyan shillings ($26�388) to 3.2mn shillings ($44�444).

With the allowances retained at 1.2mn shillings, the president's basic pay was increased from 700�000 shillings ($9�722) to 2mn shillings ($27�777), a boost of about 185.6 percent, according to official figures.

"We must give the institution of the presidency the respect and dignity it deserves," Finance Minister Amos Kimunya told the house while presenting the motion.

Opposition lawmakers complained about such a massive pay hike in a country where around 60 percent of the 32 million population live on under a dollar a day and the per capita earnings are $1�100.

In addition, the government has refused to increase salaries for lecturers, civil servants and government health workers despite a spate of strikes in recent months.

"Let us review civil servants' salaries as a whole ... they earn peanuts," said William Ruto, a lawmaker from the opposition Kenya African National Union party.

"The president cannot die of hunger if his salary is not increased," said lawmaker Raila Odinga, a Kibaki ally-turned-foe who has announced intentions to vie for the presidency in December 2007.

"Let us form a commission to harmonise and review salaries of all civil servants including the president.Let us not add (those at) the top and leave (those at) the bottom," added Odinga.

Kibaki came to power in December 2002 on a platform of ending corruption and improving the living standards of Kenyans, notably civil servants who have often complained of underpay. Sapa-AFP

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