- In spite of protests from opposition deputies, the Kenyan parliament yesterday approved a motion that more than doubled the monthly salary of President Mwai Kibaki to make sure he was the best paid state official.
This was meant to bring Mr Kibaki's salary in tandem with high-profile officials who were said to be earning more than the President. It is believed that the former President, Daniel arap Moi, and the head of the national anti-graft agency were earning more than President Kibaki.
President Kibaki will now earn close to US$ 27,600 a month. His salary was originally pegged at US$ 10,000. This increase represents 186 percent.
Kenyan parliamentarians went ahead to approve President Kibaki's retention of his monthly allowance of US$ 17,000. But the same parliament had earlier refused to endorse salary increase for civil servants, teachers and government health workers, despite strikes.
Deputies backed the motion with the saying "we want to give the respect and dignity the presidency deserves."
But those in the opposition claimed that it was unfair for salary increase to favour only the President because there was a need for a review of the salaries of civil servants at large, most of who are paid pittances. This is set in context with the very high rate of corruption in Kenya, which President Kibaki has been unsuccessful in fighting despite his election promises.
Kenyan MPs are among the highest paid in Africa but their representatives have accused them of leading flamboyant lifestyles at their expense. 60 percent of Kenyans live below poverty line.
In addition to now having the highest state salary in Kenya, President Kibaki has access to several state homes around the country, including a large and lavish abode in central Nairobi.
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