Kenyan MPs vote to keep their high salaries


Kenya's Deputy Prime Minister and presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta casts his vote at the Mutomo primary school in Kiambu on March 4, 2013.


Simon Maina

Members of Kenya’s parliament have overturned a directive from the government’s Salaries and Remuneration Commission that reduced their annual pay from $126,000 to $78,000 earlier this year.

Dismissing President Uhuru Kenyatta’s requests that lawmakers accept the pay cuts so that more of the government’s money could be spent on job creation initiatives, the MPs voted to increase their pay to an average of 851,000 shillings ($10,000) a month.

The remuneration commission was given the power to determine Kenyan MPs’ pay in the constitution Kenya adopted in 2010, but the lawmakers said the cuts were made illegally.

Kenyan legislators also argued that high salaries are necessary to prevent them from succumbing to bribery, Reuters reported.

"They have taken away our dignity and we must reclaim it," MP Jimmy Angwenyi said, according to Reuters.

In April, Kenyatta said the government spends 50 percent of the revenue it collects on government salaries, the Associated Press reported. The remuneration committee cut his pay, too, from $340,000 to $185,000.

The Law Society of Kenya has said it will challenge the legislators’ vote in court.

More from GlobalPost: Blackout grips Kenya with power grid failure