Kenya Legislators Vote Themselves Lavish Pay

Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki, center, walks with Speaker of Parliament Kenneth Marende. left and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka right, at Parliament, in Nairobi, Kenya, Dec. 19. 2012. President Mwai Kibaki delivered his final speech at a special sitting in Parliament, as he heads into retirement.
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NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Legislators in Kenya have voted themselves a hefty pay package in a late-evening vote on the last day of session before national elections.

The bill, voted on Wednesday, also would give Kenya's president, vice president and prime minister hefty retirement packages, in a move that could tempt President Mwai Kibaki not to veto the legislation.

Kenyan parliamentarians have tried multiple times in recent months to raise their pay, but past public outcries have prevented the legislation from becoming law. The Wednesday bill would give each parliamentarian a nearly $110,000 bonus. The average yearly salary in Kenya is about $1,700.

The package would also provide legislators with an armed guard, a diplomatic passport and access to the VIP lounge at Kenyan airports.

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