VOL. NO: 51      DATE:
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Kenyan leader rejects his pay hike

MR KIBAKI came to power promising to fight poverty Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki has rejected an $18,000 monthly salary increase given to him by parliament.

He said he had turned down the offer because "there are other priority projects in need of urgent funding".

Last week, MPs agreed to raise his basic pay and allowances from $26,000 a month to more than $44,000.

Critics and opposition politicians had objected to the president's salary hike, as 60% of Kenya's population of 32m live on only $1 a day.

Mr Kibaki, who faces re-election next year, came to power in 2002 promising to end decades of corruption and improve the living standards of Kenyans.

"I have taken note of the decision reached and weighed its implications under the current economic conditions prevailing in the country, and do hereby turn down the offer," the president said in a statement on Wednesday night.

"It is imperative that remuneration due to public officers be a true reflection of the economic and social times of the nation." In the parliamentary debate last week, opposition MP William Ruto had said there were civil servants who earned "peanuts" at about $57 a month, were in more urgent need of a salary increase. Several groups of workers, such as university lecturers have held strikes, complaining of low pay.

Over the past four years, Mr Kibaki's administration has been hit by a multi-million dollar corruption scandal which has damaged the president's credibility with Western donors. Some donors have estimated that up to $1bn had been lost to graft between 2002 and 2005.


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