Nairobi, Kenya - A social media-mobilized group of protestors set fire to 221 coffins in front of Parliament on Thursday to show the growing public anger over US$100,000 end-of-term package for departing MPs.
Parliament, barred from deciding its own salary and that of other state officers, awarded itself fat perks - armed bodyguards for life, state funerals and diplomatic passports for themselves and spouses and access to airport lounges in retirement.
President Mwai Kibaki rejected the law passed by the Members of Parliament on its last day of official business during a late night session attended by less than the required number of MPs to pass a law.
Parliament officially adjourned indefinitely until the elections to put in place a new government.
A Facebook convened group immediately mobilised to protest against the MPs last wish, after sending petitions to thousands of social media users and raised funds to construct black coffins which were set on fire at the Parliament's entrance.
In the biggest show of the growing freedom of expression since the passing of the new constitution, police guarding Parliament stood at a distance, gun ready, but did not stop the activists from setting off the fire.
The protestors, wearing black T-shirts, organised a funeral band and a gun salute, often the ingredients of a state funeral, and later set the coffins on fire to protest the lack of any further grounds in Nairobi to bury the dead over corruption.
'This is a real send-off for the greedy MPs and we are happy,' said a man who stood by to watch the coffins go up in flames, adding he supported the protestors' message against the greed by Parliament.
President Kibaki signed his own benefits, including US$3 million winding up allowance, a monthly salary of Ksh1 million, four foreign trips funded by the government, 26 domestic workers and three new cars every three years.
However, he vetoed the MPs allowances and sent the document back to the attorney general for re-drafting and legal counsel.
The latest effort by MPs follows years of back and forth attempts by members of a legislature who have often blocked the idea of paying taxes on their US$12,000 a month pay and massive mileage allowances.
Activist Boniface Mwangi said the protests were convened to stop the attempts by the MPs to continue perpetuating greed and forcing the taxpayer to foot the huge bill.
'We decided to set the coffins on fire because the cemetery in Langata is full,' Mwangi, whose group stormed the city with cartoons against political greed, said.