In a June 10 report, the World Bank indicates that “Close to a fifth of Kenyan families cannot afford a decent meal due to a sharp increase in food prices” and adds that the high cost of living “comes even as an increasing number of families resorted to buying food and other essential items on credit as a coping mechanism against the high cost of living.”
In their June 26 statement, KCCB members said Kenya’s outgoing political leadership “could have done much in putting in place mechanisms to mitigate the effects of perennial droughts now severe on parts of our country.”
They expressed concern about the future political leaders, saying, “We run the risk that leaders who will be elected in different elective positions may follow the same trend, whereby they do not attend to the wellbeing of the poor and destitute but focus on themselves and increasing their salaries.”
To prevent the current trend continuing into the future, Catholic Bishops in Kenya want the electorate to question the specific plans political candidates have to make the economy better.
“We specifically need to ask those seeking elective positions what plans they have to create the right economic atmosphere, even improving our agriculture, and not what free things they will give us,” KCCB members said.
They went on to express their concern about the “alarming levels” that the international debt has reached, and urged political candidates to inform the electorate the strategies they intend to put in place to address the repayment of the debts and their management going forward “in order to improve the welfare of our citizens”.
KCCB members also called upon Kenyan well-wishers to reach out to the less fortunate in society. They said, “Let us be simply moved by the care of our poor neighbor. Many Kenyans are hungry! The cost of living is rising. Inflation is souring. All are called to come to the aid of our neighbor.”
“Kenyans need an urgent intervention from the County and National Governments now, not tomorrow,” Catholic Bishops in Kenya emphasized.
They further urged the national government “to move with speed to lower prices of basic commodities like maize flour, maize and beans, cooking fat and kerosene, so that families can afford to meet their basic needs.”
In the face of the economic challenges in the country, KCCB called on Kenyans “to not only continue working hard but also ensure that we creatively become more innovative and entrepreneurial to increase our revenue streams at all levels beginning with the family level.”