Hundreds of demonstrators set 221 coffins on fire outside Kenya’s parliament yesterday in protest at MPs who voted last week to triple their end-of-term bonuses and award themselves state funerals.
President Mwai Kibaki, with an eye on a 4 March election, refused to sign the benefit increase into law.
But Kenyans protested anyway to highlight anger at a political class widely seen as corrupt. They staged a procession through Nairobi, wailing and singing as they hoisted aloft the coffins made of plywood and tarred in black paint, representing MPs. Dressed in black T-shirts, protesters waved placards with slogans including “bury the vulture with your vote”.
“We torch these caskets to signify the end of one era and birth of another,” said Boniface Mwangi, head of the Kenya ni Kwetu (Kenya is Ours) group.
In their last act before parliament shut MPs voted to increase their bonus to 9.3 million shillings (£66,000). They already earn £8,000 a month in a country where per capita GDP is £500 a year.