President needs to call his house to order

Monday, September 18th, 2023 02:59 | By
President William Ruto
President William Ruto. PHOTO/@HonMoses_Kuria/X

Last week, Kenyans received the biggest shock ever in terms of price increases of fuel since the Government started capping maximum prices of the commodity to stop rampant profiteering by oil marketers.

The shocker was two-fold, breaking the psychological barrier of Sh200 per litre, and that the increases were the highest, ranging from Sh17 for petrol, to a mindboggling Sh33 for kerosene! With the massive rise in prices, the government has decided to abandon the very people who brought it to power.

For a moment, it looked like the palpable public anger would explode. The outrage countrywide was unanimous and spontaneous, including in Government strongholds. This is how revolutions are spawned!

This Government is tempting fate. The casualness with which this matter has been treated is baffling.
We all understand- global prices have risen. That is not the issue. It is that the Government has decided to sit down and twiddle its thumbs as London burns.

The Energy Cabinet Secretary, Davis Chirchir, even had the temerity to tell Kenyans that the Government was as helpless as the citizens because “it had covenants with the IMF.”

This is an insult to Kenyans. Kenyans did not elect IMF. The use of the IMF as the Government’s bogeyman is such a jaded excuse. There’s plenty the Government can do if it puts its mind to it. Reduce the massive taxation on fuel to the extent needed to ensure price increases are moderated.

That way, no money comes out of the consolidated fund to pay for this “intervention.”

Why was the stabilisation fund not used? This was the very purpose for which it is collected. Nobody explains anything to Kenyans.

Talk to that IMF. They have to be made to see how stark the choices are- either the Government manages the fuel price costs, or very soon, it will be managing devastating street protests. The country has barely settled from the destructive maandamanos over the costs of living. Unless, of course, IMF wants Kenya destroyed.

Government must implement short term measures to allow the current international global markets for oil to cool off. Kenyans are up in arms because too many things are not adding up.

The Government entered into a Government to Government oil procurement deal that was supposed to stabilise fuel prices, and remove the pressure on the shilling dollar exchange rate. Instead, both situations have worsened, with no end in sight!

No explanations. Kenyans are expected to just grin and bear it. This is not the way to run Government. Worse, the Government’s massive communication capacity is broken beyond belief. The very manner of releasing such a hefty announcement was very amateurish- and that is being charitable.

Worse, the Government’s top officials seem to hold Kenyans in utter contempt. The statements by Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria, and President William Ruto’s Chief Economic advisor Dr David Ndii, over this saga, show officials completely out of touch with the public mood.

This government spent the last five years asking, nay, pleading, with Kenyans for votes, with a promise to bring down the cost of living and especially, the surging fuel costs. Now that the opposite is happening, it needs to be very humble indeed.

If Government officials continue in this blatant manner, there’ll be dire consequences in 2027, if not before. Don’t dare Kenyans. They are in no mood to suffer fools at all! The President needs to call his house to order as a matter of grave urgency!

The country is at a tipping point. In another 30 days, a new price of fuel is expected to be announced on the customary 14th day of the month. Start working on mitigation measures and a proper communication strategy should it become necessary to forestall a price surge- irrespective of the so-called “international oil markets,” and the “IMF.”

And shut down the hawks. All they are doing is aggravating Kenyans.
Another such disastrous performance, and all the bets are off!

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