Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Pig-headed protesters take battle against MPs’ pay increase push to Parliament

By PETER OBUYA potieno@ke.nationmedia.com
Posted  Tuesday, May 14   2013 at  23:30

Civil society activists on Tuesday brought pigs to Parliament to protest demands by MPs for higher pay.
They dropped the pigs at the main entrance and fed them blood as they blocked MPs from the chamber.
Some pigs on display had MPs’ names painted on them.
Their anger was provoked by a motion by MP Mithika Linturi to have the Salaries and Remuneration Commission disbanded.
The pigs, which were intended to portray the MPs as greedy, licked the blood before they found themselves engulfed in tear gas smoke.
Police also added military water cannon to their anti-riot arsenal. Again, the pigs were also hit by the water cannons.
The police arrested about 18 protesters for creating disturbance of the peace.
Among the protesters were Kenyan constitutional lawyer Yash Pal Ghai and civil rights activist Maina Kiai.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, Chapter 360 of the Laws of Kenya prescribes the manner in which animals may be transported, slaughtered, fed, and even accommodated. Slaughter of an animal, for example, should be so quick with a sharp knife as to pre-empt needless pain.
On Tuesday, at one point the pigs were abandoned, with a piglet almost run over by a speeding car.
“After 50 years of greed, we now want servant leadership”. That is the message activists took to Parliament as they staged a protest against lawmakers’ clamour for increased salaries.
Among those arrested was Boniface Mwangi who was arrested two weeks ago for shouting “traitor” at Cotu boss Francis Atwoli during Labour Day.
The protests dubbed “Occupy Parliament” appeared well-planned and began at Uhuru Park’s Freedom Corner from where the activists began with a prayer after singing the National Anthem.
They then marched along Kenyatta Avenue through Moi Avenue before temporarily stopping at the Tom Mboya statue to seek divine intervention through former freedom fighters. Later, they proceeded along Harambee Avenue to Parliament Buildings.
Quit their positions
Placards with various messages were raised high for whoever cared to read with the legislators urged to quit their positions if they were unhappy with their pay.
The lawmakers have been recently likened to pigs for their greed and the demonstrators brought a lorry full of the animals.
“This signifies the greed that has bedevilled our National Assembly and we are alerting them that we are watching,” Mr Kiai added.
The activists mocked the leaders for more than two hours before MPs started arriving for their afternoon sitting. And they were forced to sign a petition against their own agitation for increased salaries.
Starehe MP Maina Kamanda, who was the first to arrive, obeyed the demands and signed the petition but trouble started when the others arrived minutes later and refused to obey the demand.

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