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Kenyans to blame for the high cost of living

A Kenyan mother is purchasing unga

Hue and cry has rented the air in Kenya over the high cost of living. My take is that they are right; the cost of living is extremely high.

However, I hold the opinion that the cries are misdirected big time. Misdirected because many people have taken their complaints to the doorstep of the President, Dr William Ruto. They are wrong. I am taken aback to the mid-2000s when then American ambassador to Kenya Mr Michael Ranneberger said the famous quote ‘choices have consequences’. The quote was directed at President Mwai Kibaki and his honchos, when the United States government was pilling pressure on the Party of National Unity (PNU) government to deal with wanton graft that was eating the Kibaki regime from the root. During that time, just like today, the cost of living was extremely high.

It was at that time the Kenyan government had started ‘look East’, instead of our traditional Western money lenders like the United States, Britain, France, Germany, IMF, World Bank etc. Their main reason for going for China’s market was because there were relaxed conditions for Kenya to be given loans, without a keen eye to monitor how it’s being used. Those who were of age at that time, can now see what China’s loans have done to our country; Standard Gauge Railways’ inflated loan is a case in point… Michael Ranneberger has been vindicated after two decades.

This is the same trend that is currently building in Kenya, even before the country goes one year after ‘electing’ the Kenya Kwanza government, the high cost of living has made Kenyan youth – and other online users – to coin funny phrases – and some of them even ‘baptised’ the President with the name ‘Zakayo’, taking the name of the biblical tax-collector during Jesus Christ’s time, Zacchaeus the tax-collector. The name has been given to the president because, unlike what he promised during the last election’s presidential campaigns, President William Ruto has made a sharp U-turn on his tax policy.

When the campaigns were at the fever pitch, Kenyans were warned against voting for some individuals that obviously had questionable past records. President Uhuru Kenyatta himself did warn people that ‘Mtanikumbuka baada ya miezi tatu’ (in three months’ time you’ll remember me). Like Michael Ranneberger’s words, Uhuru’s words have come back in earnest, to haunt the very voters he warned, but ended up not making the right choice at the ballot.
Kenyans are currently crying because the cost of living has sky-rocketed. The Kenyan staple food, ugali, is currently a preserve of a few. The price of the basic commodity has basically doubled from where President Uhuru Kenyatta left it last year.

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