Kenyans angered by MPs' salary hike
Nairobi - Kenyan MPs, already some the best paid in the world, came under criticism on Friday for seeking a salary hike that would see the prime minister earn more than twice as much as his British counterpart.
The legislators agreed to boost their monthly salary and allowances to $15 227 from $10 430, inflating figures recommended by a panel tasked to review their salaries late on Wednesday.
The prime minister is to earn $39 000 a month - dwarfing the British premier's $18 000-pay - according to the recommendations which are to be presented to the finance minister to draft a bill.
Hassan Omar Hassan, a commissioner with the state-funded Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, said the move showed the "insensitivity of our political leaders to public opinion".
"That level of insensitivity puts in dire question their commitment towards leadership and towards improving and bettering the lives of the Kenyan people," he said.
"I don't think the MPs put in the kind of work to warrant that kind of money."
The Daily Nation newspaper said the MPs "have proved, once again, how selfish, unfeeling and inconsiderate they are”.
"They could not have chosen a worse time to fast-track another increase in their own salaries and benefits."
The paper said the annual cost of the new pay package would be nearly as much as the entire budget to buy medicines for the country's hospitals and more than the amount set for the purchase of anti-retroviral drugs this year.
In 2003, the legislators had already awarded themselves hefty pay increase that also drew public outrage.