Widespread protests over high cost of living
A section of Kenyans yesterday staged demos in Nairobi and Kisumu to protest the high cost of living, even as Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya sought to assure of plans to import cheap maize from Zambia.
In Nairobi, angry protesters demanded lower prices for food and basic commodities as a condition for them to take part in the forthcoming polls. Munya, in the meantime, said the importation of cheap maize was among various interventions to reduce the cost of living.
He said talks were going on between the governments of Kenya and Zambia. The CS presided over the issuance of over 60,000 title deeds in Meru county and addressed rallies at Timau and Urru Stadium in Tigania East, where he drummed up support for Azimio-One Kenya Alliance flag bearer Raila Odinga.
In Nairobi, protestors chanted: “Hakuna kura bila kula”(no elections without food). ”
They then staged a sit-in outside Harambee House. In Kisumu, protestors carried placards and raised concern that Kenyans are suffering from the high cost of living.
Led by human rights defenders Boniface Akatch and Hellen Ongere, the activists accused government agencies of doing little to bring down the cost of food commodities.
“The government has turned a deaf ear to its citizens and has opted to exploit them further,” reads the petition, which was presented to Kisumu county commissioner Josephine Ouko.
They urged the government to scrap high taxes on fuel and other basic items, besides tackling the rising public debt. The protestors asked the government to create opportunities for equitable access to jobs.
“People are going hungry, parents cannot afford food to feed their children. The government is politicking instead of focusing on real issues. We want Parliament to reconvene and discuss measures to cushion the most vulnerable communities,” said Akach.
On her part, Ongere said women are bearing the brunt of the high cost of living. A survey released on Wednesday by Infotrak indicated that 73 per cent of Nairobi residents believe the country is heading in the wrong direction.
- Reporting by Alvin Mwangi, Noven Owiti, Kepher Otieno and Dorcas Mbatia