News / Africa

Kenyans Outraged Over Rising Fuel Prices

Members of Kenya's civil society chant slogans during a demonstration outside the Parliament Buildings in Nairobi, April 19, 2011
Members of Kenya's civil society chant slogans during a demonstration outside the Parliament Buildings in Nairobi, April 19, 2011


Michael Onyiego

Discontent is rising in Kenya's public and private sectors over the record-setting price of fuel. With ongoing unrest in North Africa and border clashes in northern and southern Sudan, the price of fuel is reaching new heights in Kenya. The price has already topped 110 shillings per liter of petrol in Nairobi, or $1.30, a new record for the East African nation. The price has jumped from under 90 shillings just over a month ago, prompting concern for Kenya’s people and government alike.

With no end in sight, hundreds of protesters from Kenya’s civil society and working classes took to the streets of Nairobi Tuesday to demand relief from Kenyan lawmakers.

But in the halls of parliament, tensions were also running high, with the blame for high prices landing on the shoulders of Kenya’s Ministry of Energy.  Led by MP Ababu Namwamba, parliamentarians grilled Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi, holding corruption within his department responsible for the rising prices.  MP John Mbadi suggested that Murungi resign, saying he spent more time in court as a witness than at his post.

Murungi rejected the charges of incompetence and corruption, telling the chamber he was addressing issues of graft.

"Where there are issues of corruption I’m taking action on them and that is the reason why I’m appearing in court as a witness. It is one of the ways of fighting corruption." Murungi explained.

He laid the blame for rising prices on the rise in global petroleum prices as well as rising inflation in Kenya.

But for MP Joseph Nkaissery, the problem was not corruption, but Kenya’s coalition government and its ability to make decisions.

"Who is in charge of increasing this fuel? Is it not the government?" he asked. "Mr. speaker, this is a problem of leadership. And we warned this country. Never again - and I pray - never again, this country should never have a coalition government because we are stuck."

Prices of fuel in Kenya are determined by the country’s Energy Regulatory Commission, which last week announced another increase.

The impact is beginning to spread into other staple items such as flour and corn.  According to the World Bank, corn prices in Kenya have jumped 27 percent in the last three months.

After protests hit cities across the country, Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday announced a 20 percent tax cut on diesel fuel to help stem rising costs. But consumer organizations in Kenya have panned the cuts as too little too late.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.