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Kenyan lawmakers oppose move to make them ‘beggars’

NAIROBI — Kenya’s newly elected legislators will oppose cuts by the wage-setting body that will turn them into “beggars”, a parliamentary service commission member said on Wednesday.

The proposals to reduce salaries are popular with many ordinary people who think officials live large at the expense of taxpayers. Kenyan lawmakers are some of the best paid in the world, earning in excess of the equivalent of $10,000 every month in pay and various allowances.

The country’s salaries and remunerations commission (SRC), which sets public-sector salaries, said last month that it would slash salaries of top officials, including the president and lawmakers, to save 8.5-billion shillings ($82.44m) a year.

“We will not agree to those proposals,” Gladys Wanga, an elected lawmaker who sits on the parliamentary service commission, told Reuters.

The annual bill for paying 700,000 public employees, including elected leaders, stands at 627-billion shillings, which is equal to half the government’s revenue. The SRC wants to take away a 5-million shillings car grant given to each lawmaker, strip them of various allowances, and reduce their monthly pay, Wanga said.

“It is like a punishment they are meting on MPs, to be honest. They are turning them into beggars,” she said. The SRC was not available immediately for comment.

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