The leader of the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party, Raila Odinga, has issued a warning to President William Ruto’s administration for ignoring the public’s demands to reduce the cost of living. During a press conference at the Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka Command Centre on Friday, Odinga cautioned the current government that if they continue to ignore the concerns of Kenyan citizens, they could face the same fate as other oppressive regimes in Africa that have recently been overthrown.
Odinga, seemingly alluding to coups in countries like Libya, Gabon, and Botswana, emphasized that Kenyans have endured rising food and fuel prices without seeing any solutions for too long. He stressed that there are clear signs that the situation may worsen or remain unchanged. However, he refused to ask the people to further tighten their belts, as they have already made significant sacrifices. Instead, he placed the responsibility squarely on the government, stating that they must take action or face the consequences suffered by other insensitive and inept governments on the continent.
Odinga attributed the current high cost of living to the policies of the Kenya Kwanza government, which, in his view, have led to the escalating prices of essential goods. He specifically pointed to the recent decision by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) to raise fuel prices, connecting it to the government’s choice to enter into Government-To-Government (G2G) oil supply agreements with Middle Eastern countries, a move he criticized.
According to Odinga, both the president and his deputy, who are currently engaged in international activities, bear responsibility for the rising oil prices because they opted for G2G contracts that involve payments in Kenyan currency. He questioned the logic of Middle Eastern countries accepting Kenyan shillings and argued that the government’s flawed policies have caused the current crisis, with innocent Kenyan citizens suffering while government officials travel the world.
Additionally, the opposition leader criticized the government’s prioritization of projects, suggesting that they should have focused on reducing food and fuel costs rather than subsidizing fertilizer. He contended that this approach has led to inflation, as farmers, even with access to fertilizers, cannot afford the high fuel costs required to operate tractors and generators on their farms. Odinga emphasized that as long as the government fails to address the price of food and fuel, the cost of living will remain high, regardless of fertilizer distribution.