NAIROBI, Kenya, May 16 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Sunday accused a section of the coalition for deliberately ignoring his recent directive to waive taxes on essential commodities to cushion consumers from escalating costs living in the country.
He censured the bureaucrats in the government for failing to develop legislation which was aimed at facilitating the tax exemptions on fuel and maize imports to ensure that the rising prices of basic commodities stabilised.
"I proposed the measures in Parliament but they appear reluctant to address the plight of the common man and went ahead to increase the very prices of the commodities we wanted to be reduced without our consent," the Premier protested.
He told a rally at the historic Kamukunji grounds that a section of leadership in the coalition was not keen to cushion the consumers from the high cost of basic commodities and asked Kenyans to watch their move.
Mr Odinga broke his silence when he led Orange Democratic Movement leadership to drum support for the party\’s candidate for the Kamukunji May 23 by-election Ibrahim Ahmed.
He urged the electorates to vote for the ODM candidate arguing that the party had a sound policy that could solve the problems afflicting the masses.
The Premier who was accompanied by eight Members of Parliament regretted that the coalition had turned into a fire fighting tool whenever it was faced with economic challenges instead of putting sustainable solution to the perennial problem.
Speakers on the campaign trail protested over lack of respect for the ODM wing of the coalition with some suggesting a total withdrawal from the government for fresh elections before the expiry of the term.
Earlier in the day, the entourage snaked through major estates in the constituency where the team made several roadside addresses to mobilise support for the ODM candidate during the May 23 by-election.
During the campaign which attracted thousands of residents, Mr Odinga made a rare visit to a one bedroom house in Jericho estate where he spent most of his life as a toddler before proceeding to Kiambiu slum, Eastleigh, and Garissa lodge stalls.
He told the gathering that the Kamukunji by-election was just a precursor of what to come during the 2012 polls saying he would not be cowed by his opponents no matter how many of them joined hands to block his quest for the Presidency.
Leaders present included Ministers Fred Gumo, Ibrahim Elmi, Elizabeth Ongoro, Bishop Margaret Wanjiru, Mohamed Mohamud and MPs John Mbadi, Rachael Shebesh, David Were among others.
The Premier statement comes after he promised the country during a Parliament session that the government had resolved to totally waive taxes on necessities but was to develop related legislation for approval in two weeks time.
However the ministries entrusted with the task failed to present the legislations as promised prompting protest from the ODM wing of the coalition especially after the prices of petrol and diesel increased earlier in the week contrary to the expectation of the consumers.