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Cabinet reshuffle in the offing, says PM

NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 26 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has hinted that a Cabinet reshuffle is in the offing.

The Prime Minister however declined to reveal details of the upcoming changes and would not confirm if suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto will be reinstated.

"A Cabinet reshuffle is the responsibility of the Executive and that will be done in due course. I would rather not talk about individuals; Kenya is bigger than individuals," Mr Odinga told journalists after his two week tour to Europe and the US.

Mr Ruto was one of the Cabinet ministers appointed by the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) side of the coalition government during the formation of the 2008 power sharing government with President Mwai Kibaki\’s Party of National Unity.

The Eldoret North MP has since broken ranks with the Prime Minister.

Mr Ruto was suspended from the Cabinet last October when the Chief Magistrate\’s Court commenced a fraud case against him but he was recently cleared after the court ruled that there was no evidence linking him to the charges.

Mr Odinga also said he would address Parliament on the measures the government is taking to cushion Kenyans against the high cost of living occasioned by the sky rocketing prices of petroleum products.

The Prime Minister said the government had put in place adequate measures which will ensure Kenyans do not suffer as a result of the high prices of various commodities since the price of super petrol went up in Nairobi to Sh111.

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Kenyan consumers last week held demonstrations in Nairobi and Mombasa to protest the high cost of living.

"Consultations are going on between my office and that of the President on the issues that are hurting particularly the vulnerable members of our society so we know this situation is intolerable," he said.

"It\’s not an issue of people going on the streets, it\’s an issue of finding a sustainable solution out of this problem," said the premier.

Legislators last week demanded that the government uses the National Oil Corporation of Kenya to cushion consumers even when the prices of crude oil go up at the international market. MPs supported the creation of a Petroleum Stabilisation Fund which Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi said can shield Kenyans against exploitation by oil marketing companies.

On Tuesday, the Prime Minister also condemned the recent incidents where the government\’s plan to resettle Internally Displaced Persons was frustrated by a section of Kenyans and leaders in Trans Nzoia and Narok districts.

"It\’s a shame when people are being taken to be settled somewhere and another group says that they should not come and settle here. It is a shame that this is happening in our country in this day and age," he added.

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