Investment, Trade, and Industry Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria faced embarrassment on live TV when he made an unsupported statement and was promptly fact-checked.
CS Kuria was part of a Cabinet team on a joint Royal Media Services program called ‘The Big Conversation,’ discussing President William Ruto’s one-year achievements and failures in office.
The incident began when Citizen TV news anchor Sam Gituku provided an estimated price of cooking oil in the country as of September 13, 2023, at Ksh.340 per liter, down from Ksh.450 on the same date the previous year.
However, CS Kuria disputed this figure, asserting that measures implemented by the Kenya Kwanza government had reduced it much more than the stated projection.
“I wish your numbers were accurate. You claim that your TV is the most-watched in the country, so remember that someone is watching you from a supermarket, so be cautious,” he remarked.
“The cost of cooking oil is significantly lower than what you’ve mentioned, and Kenyans are aware of that. You’ve correctly noted that the price has decreased, but it’s not even close to the level you’ve stated. It has decreased by 50% since we took office.”
When asked by Gituku to provide his own figure as an alternative to the Ksh.340 he had mentioned, CS Kuria confidently claimed that, according to reliable information, the price of cooking oil was at least Ksh.100 lower than the journalist’s estimate.
“It’s much lower than that, somewhere around Ksh.230 to Ksh.240… everyone can have their own opinions, but not their own facts. Facts are universal,” he insisted.
However, less than 20 minutes later, Citizen TV’s reporter John Wanyama went live from a Naivas supermarket in the North Rift town and displayed the prices of various cooking oil brands.
Some of the prices were lower than Gituku’s estimate, while others were higher, but none came close to CS Kuria’s supposedly authoritative figure.
Wanyama’s spot-check revealed that one brand was selling a one-liter bottle of cooking oil for Ksh.355, another for Ksh.347, and the relatively cheaper options were priced at Ksh.307 and Ksh.325.
When confronted with these new figures, CS Kuria’s only response was to suggest that the Citizen TV crew in Eldoret should “now go to Ruiru” and check the prices there because “we’re here for two hours, so what’s the rush?”