Kenya: CSs Kuria, Chirchir, Must Go! Khalwale Demands Over Fuel Surge

17 September 2023

Nairobi — Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale has asked President William Ruto to dismiss government officials he believes have been providing him with misguided advice regarding fuel-related matters and lowering the cost of living.

Specifically, Senator Khalwale has singled out Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria, Energy counterpart Davis Chirchir, and President Economic Advisor David Ndii, asserting they have not met the President's expectations.

"These people you have given jobs are exposing you badly, it is high time you fire them," he said.

The Senate Majority Whip insisted that the three officials should be held accountable and required to clarify their previous statements regarding the anticipated reduction in Kenya's fuel prices, which was based on a proposed plan to secure the commodity through government-to-government agreements at the time.

"I was elected in this country to serve the poor. I don't care whether the rich people find petrol expensive but I care when the bodaboda people are unable to fuel their motorbikes," he said.

On September 14, 2023, the Energy Petroleum and Regulatory Authority (EPRA) implemented fuel price hikes, setting the new rates at Sh16.96 for petrol, Sh21.32 for diesel, and Sh33.13 for kerosene.

Consequently, in Nairobi, the retail prices for one liter of petrol, diesel, and kerosene now stand at Sh211.64, Sh200.99, and Sh202.61, respectively.

The sudden increase ignited anger among Kenyans who accused the government of failing to fulfill its promise to reduce fuel costs.

- Our hands are tied -

Adding fuel to the fire, Kuria exacerbated the frustration by announcing that fuel prices would see a monthly increase of Sh10 until 2024.

In a seemingly mocking tone, Kuria suggested that Kenyans who were lamenting about fuel prices should consider "drilling boreholes" to find their own fuel.

"From morning till evening If you keep saying the fuel price has gone up, why don't you dig your own oil well? Those people making noise, If they have their own well, I'm ready to start digging tomorrow," he said.

Energy Cabinet Secretary Chirchir further dampened any prospects of a brighter future during his appearance before the National Assembly departmental committee on Energy.

He revealed that the government's ability to influence and regulate fuel prices is severely limited, rendering it powerless to take any meaningful action in that regard.

"Our hands are tied. We cannot do anything about the cost of fuel," he said.

The two leaders emphasized that the fuel problem was a worldwide concern and attributed the surge in fuel prices to the rise in crude oil costs.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, who returned to the country on Sunday after a trip to Colombia, cautioned the trio against displaying arrogance in the ongoing discussion on the issue.

He expressed disappointment that instead of instilling hope, the leaders had chosen to "talk down on the people."

"Responsible leaders should be sensitive and inspire hope to the people of a better tomorrow," he said.

President William Ruto, currently on a visit to the United States, is anticipated to address a restless nation regarding the matter of fuel prices upon his return.

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