Gema lobby defends Uhuru over high cost of living

GEMA Cultural Association chairman Lawi Imathiu (centre), General Secretary Arthur Namu (right) and co-chairman Peter Njenga during a press conference at Thiiri Centre in Meru on July 6, 2022.

Photo credit: David Muchui I Nation Media Group

The Gema Cultural Association (GCA) has defended President Uhuru Kenyatta against accusations that his administration has contributed to high prices of essential goods.

Gema officials, led by retired Bishop Lawi Imathiu, said the high cost of living is a global challenge due to rising oil prices and the war in Ukraine “that has adversely impacted global food supply chains”.

Deputy President William Ruto, while campaigning in the Mt Kenya region, blamed the high cost of goods on what he called the missteps of the government after President Kenyatta’s ‘handshake’ with ODM Raila Odinga.

While launching his manifesto, DP Ruto said blaming the high cost of living on Ukraine is “a lost cause”, pledging to revamp the agricultural sector.

Price-driven inflation

“We ask Kenyans to be patient and also implore the government to seek ways of cushioning Kenyans against the price-driven inflation,” Mr Imathiu said at a press briefing at the Thiiri Centre in Meru.

The Gema leaders also sought to defend the Jubilee administration’s second-term development record.

DP Ruto has maintained that the Jubilee government’s second term has been wasted after President Kenyatta reached a truce with Mr Odinga in March 2018.

“We also take note and applaud the work the Jubilee government has done within the term of its leadership and in particular the second term since the handshake happened. The President has repeatedly observed that he has achieved more with the handshake than before,” Mr Imathiu said.

Despite maintaining that the association was not drumming up support for any side, they lauded the selection of Martha Karua as Mr Odinga’s running mate.

“This is recognition of her unwavering commitment to solving [the challenges facing Kenyans …,” he said.

Because she is a woman, he added, “we believe she will create a balance that is necessary in a society like ours, and pursue gender inclusivity for effective national development”.

They called on Kenyans to embrace peace and sobriety during and after the elections while urging the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to ensure the polls are accountable, credible, verifiable and transparent.

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