Kenyan activists protesting $20 m. MP bonus released

Five Kenyan activists were released unconditionally Thursday after they were arrested for protesting a 20 million dollar package which parliamentary deputies aimed to grant themselves before the house is dissolved, their defence lawyer said.

Kenyan activists protesting $20 m. MP bonus released
Five Kenyan activists were released unconditionally Thursday after they were arrested for protesting a 20 million dollar package which parliamentary deputies aimed to grant themselves before the house is dissolved, their defence lawyer said.

The five activists were arrested Tuesday following a demonstration against the legislators' bonus but were released and sent to hospital for injuries they sustained during the protest when police used tear gas to disperse them.

They were rearrested after they left the hospital and charged with holding an unlawful protest.

"The whole thing is a farce if you ask me. Somebody somewhere is uncomfortable with these activists questioning the package. The whole thing is political," said Ekuru Aukot, one of the lawyers representing the group, which was released Thursday morning.

He said he suspected police would rearrest the activists and had already applied for bail in anticipation of the new arrest.

Kenyan Health Minister Charity Ngilu clashed with police Wednesday for arresting one of the activists, Anne Njogu, who she then removed from the police station, only to be stopped again later.

The MPs are set to vote on a proposal to give themselves a 12.5 per cent increase on their pay and allowances backdated to January 2003, in a package estimated at about 20 million dollars.

Kenyan MPs are some of the highest paid in the world, while half of all Kenyans live on less than one dollar a day.

The government of President Mwai Kibaki has been mired in corruption, despite having been elected on an anti-graft ticket in 2002.

Most recently, Kibaki reappointed to his cabinet a former finance minister accused of siphoning off millions of dollars through a fictitious company.

Kibaki is set to run for a second term in December elections but faces stiff competition from the Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya, which has yet to field a presidential candidate.

DPA
Last Mod: 02 Ağustos 2007, 16:24
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