Kinshasa – A leading opposition figure’s claim that lawmakers in the Democratic Republic of Congo earn up to $21 000 a month triggered outrage Wednesday in the country, which is one of the poorest in the world.
Obtaining accurate information about how much MPs earn in the DRC is difficult.
However, on Tuesday, leading opposition politician Martin Fayulu said in a statement that pay packets had reached up to $21 000 per month and urged an investigation.
“I am deeply indignant,” he said, pointing out that 70 percent of the Congolese population of about 90 million survives on under $2 a day.
“This is corruption on a grand scale,” he added.
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The statement triggered a slew of articles in Congolese media Wednesday, as well an official denial from the DRC’s 500-seat national assembly.
MP Samuel Mbemba, who works with the president of the assembly, told AFP that Fayulu was “fantasising”.
However, Tresor Kibangula, an analyst at Congolese research institute Ebuteli, estimated that the figure was accurate.
He explained that assembly financing is notoriously opaque and suggested that slush funds are used to top up salaries.
“The deputies’ astronomical salaries are scandalous,” Kibangula said.
Roughly the size of western Europe, the DRC is one of the world’s poorest countries despite its vast mineral riches.
Corruption is endemic: the country ranks 169th out of 180 nations in the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index by NGO Transparency International.
Picture: Getty Images