Focus on issues affecting Kenya’s economy 

Kisumu protests

Kisumu residents light bonfires on Jomo Kenyatta Highway during anti-government protests on March 20, 2023. The high cost of living in our country is largely externally driven and has been with us for a number of years. 

Photo credit: Ondari Ogega| Nation Media Group

Like everybody else, I have been following the issue of the high cost of living and inflation.

The high cost of living in our country is largely externally driven and has been with us for a number of years. 

The demonstrations held on Monday, March 20, 2023, have prompted me to vent on some of the pertinent issues.

The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are still ravaging the economy. We are yet to recover. 

After Covid-19, the Russia-Ukraine war started in February 2022, leading to a global food and energy crisis.

In order to safeguard its economy from the attendant inflation, the US Fed enhanced its rate more than five times and the currencies of the rest of the world devalued, leading to high import bills.

Climate change has led to the worst drought in 40 years in our part of the world. These are just examples of the factors that are negatively impacting the motherland. We should not that there are no quick fixes for them.

Within our economy, we have heard about some Sh15 billion that was disbursed in minutes, and other incidents where more than Sh6 billion was paid out for Telkom shares. 

These matters are still under scrutiny, but they stick out like a sore thumb on weak (or nonexistent) fiscal consolidation discipline. 

The Joint World Bank-IMF Debt Sustainability Analysis 2022 indicated that Kenya was in breach of four out of six debt burden indicators. 

Citing June 2022 data, the report indicated that total debt service was estimated at 47.9 per cent of total revenue collected. 

The matter of the 2022 General Election was decided by the Supreme Court and is, ipso facto, closed. 

IEBC reconstitution

The Azimio la Umoja political formation is agitating for the IEBC selection panel to be reconstituted. 

Unless my memory fails me, this matter was deliberated and agreed upon in the National Assembly (where Azimio has a significant presence).

If Azimio feels aggrieved by the amended law on the selection panel, wouldn’t it be more decent to file a case in court for review?

It is only six months since President Ruto assumed office, and we have heard his plan to stabilise the economy. Needless to say, some of the President’s policies will take time to manifest. 

I am aware of the constitutional right to picket. I would, however, wish to see the demos as the last option.

Parliament can move a motion on the cost of living as a matter of national importance and provide direction on how to ease the suffering in the event they feel government policies are slow.

Let us not imperil the stability of our country through engagements whose endgame may turn out to be very unpleasant. We don’t have any other place to call home.

Steve Kilungya, Kitui