British media outrage over Sh200,000 seats for MPs

Written By Michael Maunda on Thursday, August 9, 2012 | 12:57 AM

Parliament’s purchase of chairs at Sh200,000 each has come under intense criticism from the British public after their cost was revealed in the UK media.

The chairs that weigh 50kg each have been installed in the lower chamber of Parliament at a cost of more than Sh85 million (£650,000), part of a Sh1 billion (£8 million) upgrade to the House, whose MPs are already at Sh800,000 (£6,000) a month pay — among the highest paid in the world, said the Telegraph.

Mercedes seats
Comments such as “I am glad they can now sleep comfortably”; “these seats must be the ‘Mercedes’ of all seats!”; “African parliamentarians are so blind to the need of their people”; “all they (Kenyan parliamentarians) want is how to siphon money”; and “one chair could feed a village for a week or two,” all appeared on the BBC’s website within hours of the article being published.

Expanded House
The Sh1 billion ($12 million) parliamentary refurbishment included expanding the chamber to cope with the 350 MPs to be elected at the next General Election, up from the current 220, which officials say brings the House into the digital age.

“The changes we are making are going to input positively in governance,” Speaker Kenneth Marende told the BBC in a statement. “Now the member will be completely on his own, he will be independent, he will make up his mind and just press a button.”

He added that electronic voting would let MPs vote according to their conscience rather than be forced to vote in a certain way by party whips. 

The BBC reported that Kenyan MPs had often been criticised for giving themselves hefty salary increases.

Source: Nation Madia