Kenyans confront Kibaki over food prices

February 18, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 18 – Dissatisfied Kenyans on Wednesday confronted President Mwai Kibaki chanting ‘unga’ (maize flour) slogans and demanding that he addresses the soaring price of the valued commodity.

Several citizens gathered at the Githurai roundabout to get a catch the attention of the Head of State where they lodged complaints over the lack of the subsidised maize flour that was introduced by the government late last year.

“We just want the cheap unga made available to us,” demanded James Maina.

“Work is quite hard to get these days, so with the prices increasing life is becoming unbearable,” another resident added.

President Kibaki, who made a brief stopover at Githurai while on his way to his Nyeri home town, blamed unscrupulous businessmen for hiking prices.

“Those hiding and selling the commodity expensively are among you, so this is becoming difficult because of you,” the President told the gathering, but promised to ensure that government recommended prices for the Kenyan staple food were adhered to.

This was the second time President Kibaki came face to face with discontent from the public over soaring prices, where the traditional ‘Harambee’ (all pull together) slogan was met with a response of ‘unga!’

Members of the public made similar demands to the President and top government officials late last year, as they took a walk in the streets of Nairobi after having lunch at a city hotel.

Although the government introduced subsidised maize flour, its distribution has failed due to inadequate stocks and poor circulation systems. The National Cereals and Produce Board admitted on Monday that it has been overwhelmed by numbers.

The Head of State on Wednesday also said that the expansion of the Thika-Nairobi highway would be fast tracked to ease congestion on the busy highway.

“We have a very good plan for this road because we want to make travelling from easy Thika and Nairobi,” he said.


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