Protesters burn over 200 coffins


Hundreds of demonstrators torched 221 coffins outside Kenya’s parliament yesterday in protest at politicians who voted last week to triple their end-of-term bonuses and award themselves state funerals.

President Mwai Kibaki, aware of popular resentment over political perks and with an eye on a March 4th general election, refused to sign the benefit increase into law.

Kenyans went ahead with the protest march anyway to highlight their anger over a political class in East Africa’s largest economy, widely regarded as greedy and corrupt.

In their last act before parliament shut for the election, politicians passed a bill to increase their end- of-term bonus to 9.3 million shillings (€80,747) each. A similar attempt in October was rejected.

This time, the politicians also wanted diplomatic passports for themselves and their spouses, armed bodyguards for life paid for by taxpayers and the right to be given state funerals, now the preserve of presidents and notable achievers. – (Reuters)