Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Reality: The price of Ugali has gone up under NARC Govt!

I got this on my email and thought I should publish.

Very interesting!!!Not because I love ugali but for the serious observation, why not read onIn 1978 when Mzee Kenyatta died, the cost of a 2kg packet of maize flour was Kshs 2.80. On December27, 2002 maize flour cost was Kshs 27. During 24 years of Moi's rule, the price of Unga had increased byKshs 24, an average of 1 shilling per year.
In 2003 the cost of Unga increased to Kshs.54; it doubled. In only 1 year the Narc government had increased theprice of Unga by Shs. 27, more than Moi's government had increased in 24 years.On December 27, 2002, one kilo of sugar cost 27/=, today a kilo of sugar costs 85/=. When Narcassumed office a litre of paraffin cost 22/=, today it costs 60/=. Under the Narc government the cost ofTransport doubled. In fact, the cost of all basic products has risen by over 100%. As a result, we the ordinarycitizens continue to struggle just to survive from one day to the other. We welcome free primaryeducation; our children are not required to pay school fees. However, with the rising cost of food, childreneither go to school hungry, or even stay at home. The reasonis simple- food is too expensive. In fact, during the Moi era many of us were able to afford both feesand food. Today most of us cannot afford food, even though we are not paying fees.It is true that the Narc government has made improvements. Farmers are being paid for theirproduce. Coffee, sugar, tea, milk, maize and many products are better paid today than during the Moiera. Why, then, does the Kenyan farmer continue to struggle? Because the cost of all farm inputs-seeds, fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides- have doubled or tripled. The money the farmers are getting is quickly taken back through these exorbitant prices.Today 3 out of 5 Kenyans are either starving or on the brink of starvation. In a nation of 30 million,that means 18 million Kenyans cannot afford to feed themselves every day. Many of us live on one meala day, and on some days that meal is not available and our hungry children cry until they sleep. Is it because we do not work? Ordinary Kenyans work every day. We till the land, work in factories, flower farms and EPZ. We dig ditches, chip and carry stones from quarries, hawk products on the streets, run kiosks.Most of us are casual labourers, cleaning homes for the rich, doing clerical work in theircompanies, and mixing concrete in their construction. The average casual labourer is paid only 100/= per day to doextremely hard work. 100/= is no longer enough to buy food for a family; unga is 54/=. Paraffin,sukuma wiki, cooking oil, water and rent are supposed to come from the remaining 46/=. That is why we aresleeping with empty stomachs even after working hard.Where are our MPs? Since independence Kenya has never missed a scheduled election. Every 5 years ordinarycitizens elect MPs. Their only job is to give voice to the people's needs. Why are they so quiet whenfood prices increase? During the Kenyatta and Moi era, like ordinary Kenyans, MPs' salary wasless than 20,000/=. Some MPs were rich, but many were ordinary citizens who understood the struggles ofordinary citizens. Today an MP earns over Kshs.600, 000 every month. Each month an MP can afford to buyover 10,000 packets of unga, enough to feed his family for 30 years! That is why MPs say nothing about the high cost of food. And, this includes all our MPs, not just government MPs. When it comes to voting for thereneeds, there is usually no difference between our MPs.Why are Kenyans unable to afford food? Every year starving Kenyans are given dry maize because theyhave no food. The government blames this on lack of rain. It is true that it has not rained in some areas for along time. But it is also true that year round Kenya exports vegetables like French beans to Europe.Kenya is the top exporter of flowers in the world. If there is enough water to irrigate flowers and French beansfor Europeans, why not use the same water to grow food for Kenyans?Because the government does not care whether Kenyans live or die. Kenyans are paid very little salariesfor making products that earn billions for foreigners. The government has poor planning leading to poor policies which have contributed to joblessness; poor remuneration; mismanagement of national resources like water (e.g. a government water project delivers water to a minister's farm in Kajiado, leaving the rest of the district dry); unexploited talent (educated and trained Kenyans are either unemployed or retrenched); high taxation of citizens (foreigners who invest in Kenya don't pay taxes for 10 years while citizens are taxed heavily from the first day); bad politics (If MPs can spend heavily for referendum campaigns why not use the same energy to help starving Kenyans?); improper, imbalanced education due to poor education policy (the rich have well equipped private schools, the poor learn under trees); lack of research on food; etcThe most serious reason, however, is the inequitable distribution of resources. The gap between therichest and the poorest people in Kenya is the second highest in the world; we are a nation of a fewbillionaires and 30 million beggars. Foreigners control 75% of our resources, including land. As aresult, we remain essentially enslaved, nearly all of us work for foreign interests. At the same time,90 % of all income generated in Kenya is owned by only 10%, meaning that 27 million Kenyans have to fight for only 10% of the income.Sadly, there is no truly selfless leader in Kenya. Poor leadership means that people with selflessnationalism like JM Kariuki are quickly killed, leaving us with selfish and corrupt leaders.Can food be made affordable?The government can easily ensure that no Kenyan will ever go hungry. First, foreigners can be taxed anda fund created that would provide Kenyan farmers with interest-free loans. Money leaving the country shouldbe limited so that money earned in Kenya develops Kenya. Also, money coming to Kenya should not bescrutinised so that, like Switzerland, Kenya benefits from foreign funds. We can use existing resourceslike the military and the National Youth Service to drill boreholes, make water furrows, construct waterreservoirs to harvest rainwater, improve roads and distribute food.Drilling boreholes makes more sense than constructing dams which are dependent on rains. Education can beimproved so that Kenyans are given appropriate training (e.g. teach carpentry, brick making, etc toall Kenyans, not just prisoners). Kenyans can be encouraged to grow indigenous crops by having anextra tax imposed on all foreign food imports. Kenyans should be allowed to transport food freely fromany part of the country without requiring licenses or paying any fees.Like other countries, the government must be forced to subsidize the cost of basic food products. If wego by the history of the Moi era, the cost of Unga should increase by 1/= each year. Since in 2002 it was27/= the cost of Unga should not exceed 30/=. At the same time, the government should subsidize the cost ofKerosene/paraffin which ordinary citizens use.Bunge la Mwananchi believes that there is enough money for the government of Kenya to subsidize Unga andparaffin. By removing taxes on Unga and paraffin, the prices should drop. Further, the government shouldfind money to subsidise basic food products. Kenyans need affordable food, NOT relief food. Queuing for drymaize with our children undermines our dignity and is not a sustainable solution. If food prices arereduced, no Kenyan will go hungry. We are willing to work for our food, as long as the prices areaffordable.Where will the money come from?The government has plenty of money, it just misuses it. We demand that the salaries of MPs are reducedto no more than 200,000 per month, and like everyone else, the MPs should pay taxes and contribute tothe national pension schemes of NSSF and PAYE. Pension scheme for MPs and health insurance to privatehospitals should be scrapped; MPs should have NHIF insurance and go to government hospitals likeother Kenyans.The over 1 billion set aside in the budget for renovating MPs offices and enlarging parliamentshould be used to subsidise food or establish a fund for capital investment in small businesses forKenyans. That will generate income and provide employment. The 100million budgeted for building the VP's house and the 400 million for renovating State house should be used for building low cost houses for Kenyans.Like Rwanda, Kenya should sell all expensive government vehicles and replace them with simple vehicles,which should only be used during government business and not for taking Ministers' girlfriends shopping. The President, if he is serious about reducing expenses in government, should start by firing all cabinet ministers who have refused to give back the extra cars. No public officer should ever have more than one vehicle assigned to him. The money saved can be used to improve transport for ordinary Kenyans. All presidential commissions should be immediately abolished; they consume billions and deliver nothing.Spending 300 million on Mutava Musyimi’s commission or paying Ringera 2.5 million per month to fightcorruption is itself, corruption. That money can be used better. Alfred Mutua should be sacked. Kenyahas no need for a spokesman telling us about homesick hyenas in Thailand at a cost of 1.5 million permonth. Retreats for MPs should be banned; meetings should be in Parliament not in 5-star hotels in Mombasa.Funding for MPs offices in their constituencies should be scrapped, those offices can be run by volunteersat no cost. Pension for retired presidents should be no more than 300,000. Imports of locally availableproducts should be heavily taxed. No public funds should ever be used to fund funerals or helpindividual families unless similar privileges are extended to all Kenyans.What can we do?We have started a campaign to force the government to reduce the cost of Unga to 30/=.. We demand thatMPs move and pass a motion to remove VAT on all basic foodstuffs; it is not too much to ask consideringthat MPs were able to remove taxes on their salaries and vehicles. Before coming to us for votes this yearwe, the people, want to remind our politicians that we will agitate for reforms that suit us, not"minimum reforms" to ensure that they are re-elected. We will also have peaceful protests nation-wide. Support us by giving this message to as many people as possible adjoining our organised demonstrations. Happy EAsy EAster from Lynder

1 comment:

African Women said...

It is going higher now that we have Uhuru government.