Consumer watchdog boss in death threats

April 25, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, April 25 – The Consumer Federation of Kenya (CoFEK) Secretary General Stephen Mutoro on Monday morning recorded a statement at the Kilimani Police station after receiving threats to stop organising demonstrations on the high cost of living elicited by spiraling cost of fuel.

According to his lawyer Paul Muite, the threats which came through a phone call to him stated categorically that he should desist from any more demonstrations since they would not bear any fruit.

“Last Saturday at about 10.30 PM when he was on Ngong Road driving to his house, he received a telephone call on his mobile number from a person who appeared to know him,” Mr Muite stated.

“He spoke in Kiswahili and said, ‘Hii maandamano yako, tutaona mahali itafika ukiendelea,’ (We will see where you will reach with these demonstrations that you are organising),” he said.

Mr Muite pointed out that the source of the threat is not known but concluded that it was from someone not affected by the rising cost of living.

“The first question you ask yourself is who stands to gain by taking this action because you are not gaining if you do not take particular actions. And obviously those who stand to gain are those who want the status quo and feel that demonstrations by the public will affect the status quo,” he said. “I do not think it is a person who has an empty stomach and who can afford a packet of Jogoo maize flour at Sh120.”

He stated that his client will not be cowed by the threats but will continue with the course to reduce the suffering of Kenyans.

“This is a person whose stomach is full and doesn’t understand why people are complaining. Keep remembering that Kenya is the fourth country in the world in terms of the gap between the haves and the have-nots,” he said. “It is however on the Kenyan people who when they decide that enough is enough, then it is so.”

Members of the civil society on Tuesday last week led demonstrations in Nairobi and Mombasa to protest the spiraling price of fuel and rising cost of living.

During the protests held in Nairobi, bad governance was highlighted as the major cause of the high cost of basic commodities that is currently being experienced in the country.

The CoFEK Secretary General Mutoro urged the government to move with speed in addressing the rising cost of living.

"There are so many austerity measures that the government – if it were committed – could do to address with or without the international high cost of crude oil prices," he said. "All we are asking for is what is it we can change within the Kenyan boundaries?"

He stated that the civil society would continue with the demonstrations until their demands are met.

"If we are unable to get what we are looking for by the end of the day today, these demonstrations are going to be continuous," he stressed.

In Mombasa, over 20 civil societies in Coast Province led hundreds of residents in similar street demonstrations.

The protesters, who marched from Uhuru Gardens to the local District Commissioner\’s offices at Treasury Square, demanded that the government controls prices of essential commodities.

Carrying plastic plates and cooking pots, the protesters caused a major traffic snarl up along both the busy Digo Road and Moi Avenue.

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