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Kenya's Ruto Scraps Subsidies on Day One

Kenya’s President William Ruto (left) speaks with Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua (right) after addressing media following a Constitutional Court ruling which instated his presidency, Nairobi, September 5, 2022

Kenya’s President William Ruto kicked off his presidency Wednesday by unveiling a plan to cut fuel subsidies to address the East African nation's $70 Billion debt, which analysts say is mounting.

For more on Ruto’s plans for Kenya, VOA’s Nabeel Biajo spoke to constitutional lawyer Charles Kanjama.

The interview was edited for brevity and clarity.

VOA: Tell us more about the economic challenges faced by Kenya and how President William Ruto intends to address them.

Kanjama: Kenya is faced with numerous economic challenges, among them is the substantial debt we have incurred as a nation. There are also concerns over our high national expenditure which includes subsidies.

In response to the increased fuel prices and the fluctuating foreign currency rate, the government over the past year had to subsidize fuel and the same was done for the price of flour over the last couple of months.

William Ruto’s administration is responding to this by canning these subsidies, which is also a response to pressure coming from several financial institutions, among them the International Monetary Fund.

VOA: What is President William Ruto planning on doing to address the high cost of living which is pushing food prices up for locals?

Kanjama: President Ruto’s analysis is that the best way to address high costs of living and food prices is to increase productivity in the agricultural sector, which is a medium-term plan. As we approach the rainy season, President Ruto wants to reduce the price of agricultural inputs which in turn would lead to an increase of outputs of crops such as maize. This will lead to decreased food prices.

VOA: Among the other acts performed on day one of his presidency, William Ruto also added six judges to the judiciary. What is your interpretation of that?

Kanjama: The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) is the organization responsible with nominating judges who can serve on the judiciary. After the JSC’s nomination, the process goes to the president’s office to appoint the third judge.

There were two court cases that pended in court for a long time because former President Uhuru Kenyatta refused to appoint six of the judges nominated by the JSC, which led to a court ruling that Kenyatta was misusing his authority. William Ruto prioritized the judge’s appointment to ensure that the work of the judiciary can successfully continue.

Kenya Fuel Subsidies Pending Cancellation
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