Catholic Bishops in Kenya Express Concern about High Cost of Living, Prolonged Drought

Members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) during a press briefing on 10 November 2022. Credit: KCCB

The high cost of living and prolonged drought in Kenya are among issues of national concern that the Catholic Bishops in the East African nation have highlighted in their latest collective statement.

In the statement issued after their meeting at Our Lady Mother of Africa Pastoral Centre in the Archdiocese of Mombasa, members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) also reflected on the prevailing political situation, environmental issues in the country, and the ongoing debates around the learner-centered education curriculum, the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC).

“We are concerned about the high cost of living in the country and the increased burden it is placing on the people,” KCCB members say in their statement dated Thursday, November 10.

They explain, “The price of essential household items such as maize flour, cooking oil, rice, cooking gas and electricity, among others, continues to be way above the reach of ordinary Kenyans, leaving millions struggling to put food on the table. The cost of fuel has also continued to rise every month, contributing further to the increase in the prices of essential goods and services.”

Catholic Bishops in Kenya also single out the taxes imposed on the basic commodities and call on law makers in the country to “look into the taxation regime and consider practical fiscal policies like zero-rating some of these basic and essential food items.”


Nil taxes on basic commodities will lead to the reduction in the prices of basic food items and petroleum products whose rise has a direct effect on the cost of living, they say.

In the statement that was read out by KCCB Chairman, Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde of Mombasa Archdiocese, the Catholic Church leaders address the drought situation, which they say has reached “a crisis level”.

They say the famine that is occasioned by the drought is “regrettable and unacceptable.”

In light of the prevailing situation, KCCB members say that there is need for “urgent and decisive action from all actors.”

“While we commend the Government for its efforts in releasing food relief to those affected by famine in the country, we have received reports that some of this support has not reached the intended recipients or is taking too long to reach them,” they say.

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As a way forward, the Catholic Church leaders call on the country’s leadership to set up a better coordinated multi-agency system of distributing emergency relief.

The multi-agency system, which ought to include Faith Based Organizations will ensure the relief reaches the most vulnerable people and “does not end up benefiting a few well-connected individuals,” KCCB members recommend.

They go on to encourage continued contribution to the drought appeal that was launched in May this year to help families affected by the elongated periods of little or no rainfall in the country. 

“Our drought appeal is ongoing as the drought situation continues to bite hard. We appeal yet again, to all Christian faithful, our partners and all people of good will, to contribute and continue sharing whatever little they have, be it cash or other in-kind donations, to enable us to save lives of the people facing starvation,” the Catholic Church leaders say.

To prevent cases of school dropouts, the Catholic Bishops say the Kenyan government “should finance school feeding programs in those areas affected by the current drought so that no school-going child will drop out of school.” 


KCCB members also call on the government and relevant organizations in the country to “study and think through the way to enhance Post Harvest Food Management.”

“This is in view of increasing our food security and providing Food Banks,” they say. 

The Catholic Bishops further say that there is need for all Kenyans to tackle “squarely” the issue of climate change. 

“The pertinent issue of climate change has to be faced and tackled squarely by all,” they say, adding that all Kenyans “must commit to planting and growing trees and caring for our environment.” 

KCCB members say that leaders in the country “should be deliberate in the war against use of plastics which lead to degradation of the environment, pollution of our rivers, and charcoal burning which results in the destruction of trees.”

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Reflecting on the post-election situation in Kenya, the Catholic Church leaders say that it is time for the already constituted government to “get down to work and deliver on the promises they made to Kenyans during the campaigns.” 

“We should guard against the tendency in Kenya of being in perennial campaign mode instead of focusing on service delivery,” they caution, and add, “Our elected leaders must take seriously the responsibilities that Kenyans have bestowed on them. This is not the time for leaders to pass blame or engage in needless political rhetoric. Let our leaders strive to be servant leaders, focusing on improving the economy for the benefit of all the citizens.”

The Catholic Bishops also urge members of the opposition in the East African country to keep the government in check.

“Being in the opposition, they should be bold enough to highlight pertinent issues affecting the country and give constructive criticism,” KCCB members say, and urge Kenyans to “keep our elected leaders accountable and ensure that they deliver on their promises.”

“We need to remain vigilant and engage with our leaders, challenging them to focus on service delivery, and to be fully transparent in the use of public resources,” they say.

On the CBC, the Bishops call on Kenyans to participate fully in the ongoing review initiative of the proposed education program by providing “constructive views”.

We encourage Kenyans to take advantage of the ongoing process of reviewing the Competency Based Curriculum by coming out to give constructive views to the Presidential Working Party on Education Review,” Catholic Bishops in Kenya say.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.