UPDATE: According to the Economist: In Nigeria “Parliamentarians are paid up to $2m a year—legally.”
Kenyan Members of Parliament take home US$ 174, 400 a year (about on par with US rank and file congresspeople. Cabinet Ministers make even more).
Their Ghanaian counterparts make US$ 24,000.
Although there might be an upside in paying the Kenyan MPs this much money (see below), it’s hard to ignore doubts about The ethical suitability of such lavish pay for public servants in a country where almost half the country lives below the official poverty line.
Being a member of parliament in Kenya is one of the most lucrative jobs on the Continent. The men and women of the August house unanimously voted to raise their salaries to US $174, 400 a year – which puts them at par with what US congressmen make. Most of this money will not be taxed. Understandably, lots of Kenyans have cried thieves! Although having the biggest economy in the wider region, per capita GDP in Kenya stands at a dismal US $ 1,600. 50% of Kenyans live below the poverty line. 78% of them live in rural areas; the vast majority of whom survive on rain-fed subsistence agriculture. On average, a child born in Kenya can hope to live to be 58.2.
The only good that can come out of this is that it will incentivize MPs to take their constituents more seriously – losing one’s seat has suddenly become more costly – thereby granting parliament better institutional standing by lowering the MP turnover rates (The idea here is that once they feel secure enough in their seats they may start to take their legislative duties more seriously — I know, wishful thinking). The pay hike may also empower parliamentarians and make them less dependent on party bosses and their patronage networks.
That said, it is still grotesquely obscene that Kenyan MPs make 109 times what their masters – the Kenyan electorate – make on average in any given year. And don’t even get me started on whether these clowns honorable members are worth the 1.1 million shillings they hope to make every month.
Can someone please tell me how these guys sleep at night given that they run a country with the following stats?????
Infant mortality: 54.7 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy: 58 years
Female literacy rate: 80%
Urban population (crude measure of peasantry rate and level of industrialization): 22% of total population (2008)
PER CAPITA GDP: $ 1,600