Known as some of the highest paid Members of Parliament in all of Africa, Kenyan elected representatives are about to get a lap of luxury following a $12 million renovation of the nation's parliament.
The average MP in Kenya earns approximately $168,000 per year, which is more than what MPs earn in Great Britain, Canada and France. It wasn’t until the summer of 2010 that they started to pay taxes on their income.
A $12 million renovation of the country’s parliament will now permit the MPs to work in luxurious conditions, especially how they sit. Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki opened the doors to the refurbished chambers amid controversy.
BBC News is reporting that the country’s taxpayers were charged $3,000 for each of the 350 red chairs, which were constructed by the prisons department. Originally, the chairs had a price tag of $5,000, but MPs didn’t feel comfortable about the heavy price.
Each of the 350 chairs weighs 50kg, is fireproof and comes with a 30-year guarantee. In total, the chairs accounted for more than $1 million of the entire $12 million renovation budget.
“The changes we are making are going to input positively in governance,” said parliamentary speaker Kenneth Marende in an interview with the British news outlet. “Now the member will be completely on his own, he will be independent, he will make up his mind and just press a button.”
Although there are only 220 sitting MPs, next year’s election will have 350 elected officials as per the newest constitution.
Kenya currently maintains a national debt of more than $7.7 billion, it has a $17.7 billion budget deficit and Kenyan Finance Minister Robinson Githae raised government spending by 25 percent.