Kenyan MPs vote to join world's best paid lawmakers

Opening of the Kenyan parliament MPs say they must be well paid because of the responsibility they have

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MPs in Kenya have voted to boost their own salaries, making them among the world's best paid politicians.

Under the new legislation, the Kenyan prime minister will take home over a third more than his British counterpart.

He will also earn almost 10% more than the US president. The vote has provoked anger from the general public and the media, correspondents say.

The parliamentarians have voted to be paid a basic $44,000 (£29,000) a year.

But extra allowances can bring the salary up to up to $126,000 (£84,000) after tax - a rise of 18%.

The allowances include $370 (£250) a day for turning up in parliament.

Start Quote

If you feel MPs are being paid heftily, join parliament”

End Quote Assistant minister

Average annual income in Kenya is about $730 (£490), while most of the population earns less than $1 (66p) a day.

If approved, the legislation would take effect during the next parliament, expected in two years' time.

BBC East Africa correspondent Peter Greste said the MPs' debate on their salaries was extraordinarily quick.

The Daily Nation newspaper reported that one MP described the pay-increase as "a move towards restoring honour to the profession of politics".

One politician was quoted as saying that the amount of money paid to MPs could not compensate "for the heavy responsibility they shoulder in the economic, political and social development of the country".

It also quoted an assistant minister as trying to dismiss criticism of the vote by saying:

"If you feel MPs are being paid heftily, join parliament. [And if you are in parliament] if you feel you have enough, give a chance to your colleagues."

An editorial in the Standard newspaper argued that Kenyans might be able to stomach the huge numbers involved if it meant the selfless delivery of services and an end to corruption.

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