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Kenyans see red over pricey govt chairs

Aug 08 2012 15:01 Sapa-dpa

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Nairobi - Kenyan officials have come under fire for fitting parliament with 350 plush hi-tech chairs, at the cost of 200 000 shillings ($2 300; R19 780) each - which is more than the average Kenyan earns in a year.

Angry taxpayers have complained via Twitter about the excessive spending on the red chairs, as part of a $11.2m renovation of the 1950s parliament building in central Nairobi.

A parliamentary spokesperson who declined to be named defended the spending, which was approved by members of the legislative house.

"The chairs have been made by prisoners, so that means that the money is going from one arm of government to another, and it will not be lost," he told dpa.

Officials say the chairs are fitted with electronic voting systems and other gadgets that will bring Kenyan politics into the digital age.

The average Kenyan earns just $1 800 (R15 480) a year, according to official data.

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