Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya coalition has accused the Kenya Kwanza administration of further running down the economy and failing to meet its promises in its first 100 days in office.
In a statement and subsequent report released yesterday, Azimio leader Raila Odinga poked holes on President William Ruto’s regime, saying it was off to a terrible start and did not inspire confidence for a better future.
“In these first 100 days of the UDA administration, fixing the economy and lowering the cost of living have hardly enjoyed the prominence Kenyans had expected. As 100 days come and go, there are simply no glimmers of hope for the economy and cost of living,” said Raila.
“These have been 100 days on the road to nowhere. Kenyans are worse off than they were during the campaigns when UDA promises flowed.”
The opposition chief took issue with the current regime for the cancellation of subsidies on petrol, diesel, electricity, paraffin and school fees, which he said had cushioned millions of people from the pain.
He also faulted the government for allegedly quietly doing away with the cash transfer to the elderly – Pesa ya Wazee – and the Linda Mama programme that covered maternal services for economically disadvantaged mothers.
“With the cancellation of subsidies, the government effectively pulled the life support from the mouths of millions of Kenyans and left them on their own. In these 100 days, the government pulled more Kenyans out of the frying pan and threw them into the flames,” said Raila.
In its 100-day assessment report of the Ruto administration, Azimio tore into the new regime, accusing it of poorly managing the agriculture and food security docket.
The coalition was most appalled by the fertiliser controversy where during his inauguration on September 13 President Ruto directed that 1.4 million bags of the farm input be made available to farmers at a maximum subsidised price of Sh3,500 per 50kg bag, down from Sh6,500, as part of his government’s interventions to address the high cost of living.
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On the September 20, it was announced that the fertiliser had arrived in the country and two days later, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua flagged off a consignment of subsidised fertiliser to various parts of the country.
“Apart from the fact that the Ruto administration had added Sh700 to the price that had been given to farmers by the Uhuru administration, there lingered the yet unanswered question of how 71,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser were bought, shipped and delivered by the Ruto administration in seven days,” read the Azimio report.
Forceful feeding on GMO
The opposition also accused Ruto of forcefully feeding Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) to the public.
Ruto in October lifted a 10-year ban on the cultivation and importation of GMOs that had been put in place by former President Mwai Kibaki’s regime.
Raila said the lifting of the ban removed all regulatory barriers that had been established over the last 10 years for the protection of the people of Kenya.
He was convinced that the move to allow GMO was neither rational nor reasonable.
Ruto had, however, premised his decision on the need to increase food productivity in Kenya and ensure food security.
“It is slowly coming to light that President Ruto has made promises to various international commercial interests to whom he must deliver notwithstanding the interests of lives and livelihoods of Kenyans,” said Raila.
Azimio also criticised President Ruto’s choice of appointments to public offices, claiming that those picked were people with ongoing court cases or have been part of a corruption scheme.
In particular, the opposition disapproved of the appointment of former National Bank of Kenya Chairman Mohamed Hassan, former head of Fiscal and Monetary Affairs Department at the Treasury Dr Kamau Thugge, and former Trade CS Adan Mohammed – all of whom had a brush will the law – to the council of economic advisors.
They were also not amused by the appointment of Ruto’s loyalists to head strategic parastatals such as Ferdinand Waititu (member, Nairobi Rivers Commission), Mary Wambui (Chairperson, Communication Authority of Kenya), Hamisi Mwashobo (Chairperson, Kenya Maritime Authority), and Anthony Ng’ang’a Mwaura (Chairperson, Kenya Revenue Authority).
The appointment of Cabinet Secretaries with questionable pasts and with active court cases and a further lack of regional balance in Ruto’s kitchen Cabinet also provided a punching bag for Azimio.
“The appointees from Rift Valley and Central are twenty-six in number (thirteen slots per the two regions)—that is more than half of all the slots. Officially, there are at least forty-five ethnic communities in Kenya. It means the other forty-three communities are left to share the other half,” reads the report.
The report also says Ruto’s Cabinet did not adhere to gender balance as it only constitutes 31 per cent women as opposed to the earlier promised 50 per cent.
Azimio regretted that the government had an “aimless foreign policy, clueless foreign minister and reckless trade minister”. It further questioned the president’s expansive foreign travels in his first 100 days.
“The appointments to the dual dockets of foreign affairs and trade indicate the administration is taking Kenya back to the foreign policy of prestige and politics instead of economic growth,” reads the report.
“Nobody expects that Alfred Mutua and Moses Kuria as the persons now entrusted with the centre of our global engagements will deliver on critical areas like debt negotiations, trade negotiations, balance of power between old and emerging powers and global conflicts like the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.”
On the economy, Azimio feels that the bottom-up approach is an over-ambitious move that amounts to “political conmanship” and that the new regime had no solid plan to deal with the problem of debt.
“…the Ruto administration is itself actively seeking any loan it can get. Between South Korea, China, IMF and World Bank, the Ruto administration is set to increase Kenya’s indebtedness by an extra over One Trillion shillings in the next two months. During the campaigns, William Ruto had viciously criticised the last administration for over borrowing,” says the coalition.
The Sh50 billion Hustler Fund recently launched by the government was also caught in the crosshairs of the Azimio boss. He averred that the product is poorly designed and is likely to lead to massive wastage of public resources.