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Kenyan PM’s wife turns down a paycheck

The average Kenyan earns about $1,300 annually. But under a proposal by the head of Kenya’s civil service, the wives of the prime minister and vice president would each get a $70,000 yearly “responsibility allowance” for the important responsibility of embodying the country’s “family values.” SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images Lucy Kibaki (right), wife of President Mwai Kibaki, already ...

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The average Kenyan earns about $1,300 annually. But under a proposal by the head of Kenya’s civil service, the wives of the prime minister and vice president would each get a $70,000 yearly “responsibility allowance” for the important responsibility of embodying the country’s “family values.”

SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images

Lucy Kibaki (right), wife of President Mwai Kibaki, already receives nearly $100,000 annually for her “social responsibilities,” which she displayed so well last December when she slapped an emcee who confused her name with that of the president’s unofficial second wife.

Ida Odinga, wife of Prime Minister Raila Odinga, has said she will not take the money, however. And due to this rejection, many MPs — whose own salaries average $120,000 annually, not counting perks — are praising her for not wasting taypayers’ money.

Maybe the government should focus less on the “gracious ladies,” as they’re called, and more on paying the $100 grants it promised to displaced Kenyans whose homes and farms were destroyed in the aftermath of December’s disputed presidential election. Just a thought.

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP