Stem rising cost of basic commodities

Though political rivalry and demonstrations have been hogging the national limelight lately, ordinary Kenyans are facing a dire situation that is crying out for attention.

The government should be concerned about the plight of the people, whose votes handed them the mandate to run the country’s affairs. The cost of basic commodities has shot through the roof, with many households unable to put food on the table for their members.

While the opposition, led by Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party leader Raila Odinga, has highlighted the high cost of living among its concerns, its major focus is on the last elections, which it alleges were stolen by President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance.

At a time when there is a national crisis such as food shortages across the country, politicians should agree to put aside their differences and address the problem. 

The obsession with politicking portrays leaders who are far removed from the raging dire situation as if they live on a faraway planet.

President Ruto, the other day, said that the price of a 2kg packet of unga was Sh180. It is actually being sold in supermarkets and by other retailers between Sh190 and Sh200.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data shows that the cost of food, housing, water, electricity, cooking gas and fuel increased by an average of 0.4 per cent between January and February. Cabbage, carrots, sukuma wiki and tomatoes are also costing more.

The situation is going to get worse, as the government has allowed the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) to approve a Kenya Power tariff increase of up to 63 per cent. This will see an increase in the cost of goods and services.

The increase comes as the workers’ statutory deductions to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) have recently been increased, thus reducing their take-home pay.

The big irony is that the Ruto administration came to power on the promise to lower the cost of living. But what we are seeing is the opposite of this. More pragmatic measures are urgently needed to lower the soaring cost of living.