Pressure Mounts on President Kenyatta

  • Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta | Wikimedia Commons
  • President Kenyatta. Source: Wikimedia

Unlike the 2013 presidential election, when he whipped up anti-ICC emotions to win the election, the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is finding the 2017 election daunting. The sky-rocketing cost of basic commodities fueled by corruption and high taxes has seen Kenyans, including his most fervent supporters, team up with the opposition ahead of the election.

So much is the pressure that the country’s Ministry of Finance, in a budget presented early this year, announced prize cuts for maize flour – Kenya’s staple food – and sugar. But nothing has changed. Recently, Kenyatta promised the same but it was dismissed as a public relations gimmick intended to sway votes in his favour.

Dozens of Kenyans have taken to social media to agitate for a solution to a menace that is seeing numerous families go without food. They blame state-sanctioned graft and poor planning for the sorry state of their country’s economy.

“In Kenya, we don’t have a government. What exists is a club of two individuals out to enrich themselves and their cronies at the expense of the populace,” said Johannes Adira, a tailor in Mathare, one of the sprawling slums of Kenya, where three meals a day is a luxury and residents depend on newspapers and polythene bags to deposit stool.

“I wonder why he is campaigning for a second term when he has totally failed. If I were him, I would simply exit the stage without much hullabaloo,” he added.

The opposition, under the banner “National Super Alliance” or NASA, is piling pressure on Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, to come clean on myriad scandals facing the government. This week, the US government withdrew a two-billion Kenyan shilling fund for the health sector, citing deeply embedded corruption.