Ignore the politics on food prices; it is a global matter
Rising cost of living has provoked protests in several parts of the world. Sri Lanka has ceased fuel supply to non-essential services as their food crisis intensifies. They have been in an ongoing economic crisis since 2019. In central London, thousands marched in protest against the cost of living. Cost of Living Coalition in Ireland staged protests over the ongoing economic crisis.
In Kenya, people have taken to social media to protest the same. This is understandable. We are all suffering privation in different forms. But amid the election fever, some politicians have taken to incriminating the current government. That would be reasonable if they were not in the government.
Unfulfilled election pledges have led to frustration and resentment towards politicians and the government. The economic revival strategies laid out by presidential candidate George Wajackoyah have opened the door to renewed hope for the youth—unlike the rice and meat narrative by a camp whose integrity, if we are to be honest, is questionable.
We should start looking beyond petty politics to solve actual issues. President Uhuru Kenyatta has with him the powers and mandate within our borders. Whether we like it or not, international political standing does have an impacts on our country.
An article from Africa Renewal by the UN outlines how the Russia-Ukraine conflict has affected global food and fuel prices. Global economic analysists have outlined how it will impact food security. The war affects availability and pricing of some food crops and fuel, socioeconomic recovery and growth of European and African countries and triggers uncertainties in global financial markets and supply chain systems. This is not propaganda, as some obstreperous local politicians would have you believe.
President Kenyatta and CS Peter Munya have been strategic in their courses of action in the Agriculture ministry with directives on fertiliser subsidy, free seeds, regulatory and policy framework for dairy farming and, recently, waiver of maize import levies.
Ease the strain
The waiver on maize import levies take effect on July 1 in a bid to ease the strain on millers and consumers of flour. This will also force the farmers hoarding maize to release it into the market.
The past informs our future. Kenya has experienced maize scandals. There has been endless public corruption allegations and court cases. If the current crop of politicians is anything to go by, then we have another looming crisis in the making. Let their declarations be weighed against their past.
President Mwai Kibaki, known for his sound economics, also faced food and fuel pricing crisis. We know him for having laid the foundation for some of the ongoing government projects. Long-term measures take time to implement.
Kenya is still a young country. The best we can do as citizens is vote in known ethical leaders who will continue to set up and implement structures that will work for us.
Ms Ngure is a strategic communications consultant. [email protected]