KENYA: ‘You Are Strangling the Lives of Kenyans,’ Says Archbishop Muheria On Fuel Prices and Taxation

By Paschal Norbert

NYERI, SEPTEMBER 19, 2023 (CISA)- “There must be other solutions beyond pushing and demanding extra from what does not exist among the poor. The plight of the poor should not only be about words, we must ensure they do not lack food on the table,” said Archbishop Anthony Muheria on September 16, 2023.

Speaking to the media at Our Lady of Consolata Cathedral in Nyeri town, Archbishop Muheria who was reacting to the September 14, rise in fuel prices that has been greeted by uproar by the people appealed to the government not “to strangle the lives of Kenyans and push them further into poverty.”

“The fuel prices have not increased this much in the last three months. We know that fuel prices are affected by the global fluctuation of crude oil prices, but we should not burden the poor Kenyans from all quarters, which include heavy taxation and hiking fuel prices, especially during this time of economic crisis,” said the Nyeri archbishop.

Archbishop Muheria urged the government to prioritize finding alternative means of addressing the cost of living crisis and stop “relying solely on squeezing an already struggling public.”

“We really need to have a discussion on whether this is what we are going to do, especially in this situation where we have an exponential increase in the price of fuel. We are really strangling the lives of our Kenyans and it is mainly the poor who will suffer,” he said.

The prelate cautioned the political leaders that the needs of Kenyans cannot be addressed through “lip service and rhetoric,” thus appealing for deliberate and well-thought solutions to cushion the people from the surging inflation.

“Those who are already constrained are really being further constrained. For example, the cost of kerosene has gone up by Sh33. Frankly, we could have done it a bit differently because the poor are going to suffer more. It will have a terrible ripple effect. It’s the poor who use kerosene, the rich don’t use kerosene, surely we could have done it a little bit differently,” he said.

“We need to join hands with the government and other stakeholders to find a solution to this issue by cushioning the effects of the increases,” he added.

On September 14, the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) said Diesel went up by KES 21.32 while Kerosene increased by KES 33.13 to retail at KES 200.99 and KES 202.61 per litre in Nairobi.

The new prices which will subsist during the September-October cycle crossed the KES 200 mark for the first time hitting a high of KES 211.64 per litre of petrol in Nairobi after a KES 16.96 increase.