In contrast to his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s President William Ruto says he will not give in to demand from the people and the opposition to reinstate subsidies on goods like food, fuel, and power. Ruto argued that his decision to halt subsidies when he assumed office in September was the right one, calling them unsustainable and a risk to the economy, in his New Year’s message to Kenyans.
Additionally, according to Ruto, the previous administration introduced the subsidies for political purposes and did not base their choice on economic facts.
Ruto has come under fire from the opposition alliance Azimio la Umoja One Kenya, which is led by seasoned politician Raila Odinga, for eliminating the subsidies, a move it claims has made life much worse for most Kenyans. The coalition claims it would keep pressing for the reinstatement of fuel, energy, and food subsidies in order to put pressure on the Ruto government.
Opiyo Wandayi, the leader of the coalition in the National Assembly, claims that despite the promises made to Kenyans during the most recent elections, particularly those relating to their economic empowerment, the current government continues to let them down. “President Ruto said that this would be Kenya’s economic turning point during the campaigns. Let him protect Kenyans from the effects of a collapsing economy,” Wandayi argues.
The majority of Kenyans believed the high cost of living would start to decline as 2023 got underway, but many now believe they would have to wait longer for things to get better in light of Ruto’s confirmation. Despite President Ruto’s assurances that energy costs will stay the same, the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) revealed in January that Kenyans will now pay 15% extra for their electricity.