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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 November, 2003, 13:59 GMT
Row over Kenya independence party
Kenyan worker
Many Kenyans are living below the poverty line
Kenya's parliament is deeply divided over government plans to hold lavish independence day celebrations.

Some $1m has been earmarked from an emergency fund to finance 12 days of ceremonies for the 40th "Jamhuri Day", starting next week.

But MPs say the money should be spent on drugs for Aids patients and university professors who are currently on strike for more pay.

The Kenyan economy is struggling as a result of corruption and mismanagement.

An assistant minister at the office of the president, Kivutha Kibwana, ignited the fury of some members of parliament when he said the cause was worthy.

"This is a new type of celebration - we are trying to relaunch Kenya," he said.

'Extravagant'

But some MPs say the government should not be spending so much on pomp and pageantry while complaining the economy is on its knees.

"This is extremely extravagant of the government. Sh100 million to celebrate nothing for a government which has been crying of an economy brought down by [former ruling party] Kanu," said Cicily Mbarire, a nominated MP on the government side.

A strike by lecturers has paralysed its institutions of higher learning. They are demanding better pay and working conditions.

Last week the IMF released $250m loan to Kenya, which had been frozen for three years.

President Mwai Kibaki has however warned that economic reforms may not yield lasting results, unless donors provide more financial assistance.




SEE ALSO:
Kenya calls for more reform aid
24 Nov 03  |  Business
Rising hope for aid to Kenya
10 Jul 03  |  Business
Kenya targets corrupt officials
17 Apr 03  |  Business


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