Hope in dark continent: Kenyan leader rejects huge bonuses for MPs and himself

Kenya’s president has vetoed legislation that would have given each member of parliament $107,000 send-off bonus.

President Mwai Kibaki on Saturday ordered the country’s attorney general to redraft the measure to ensure that it is compliant with the constitution. Under Kenya’s constitution, civil servants’ pay is regulated by a Salaries and Remunerations Commission.

Members of the 222-seat parliament voted to give themselves the hefty bonuses late Wednesday, in what was their last action before closing parliament for the March 4 elections. They also voted to give themselves body guards for life, private chauffeurs, state funerals and access to the VIP lounges at Kenyan airports.

President Kibaki vetoed a similar bonus package for lawmakers in October, saying it was unconstitutional and untenable given the country’s economic circumstances.

But this time, the lawmakers tacked on a provision that would have awarded the president a $300,000 bonus upon his retirement this year.

Kenyan lawmakers are already among the best paid on the African continent, with a monthly salary of about $13,000.

The proposed bonuses sparked criticism from Kenyan citizens.

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