Kenya’s food crisis: Drought raises prices and political tensions

Maize is a staple food in East Africa (Photo: Kate Holt/AusAID)

Published on 26/07/2017, 8:00pm

Opposition parties accuse the Kenyatta administration of failing to plan for poor harvests, as inflation bites ahead of an August general election

By Mantoe Phakathi

Food price inflation has become a major political issue in Kenya’s general election campaign, in the wake of multiple droughts across East Africa.

Since 2015, Kenya has experienced shortages of the staple food, maize, and other basic commodities such as sugar. The annual food inflation rate stood at 18.6% in March, forcing households to tighten their belts.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration is under pressure over its handling of the food crisis, ahead of the poll on 8 August. Placards saying “unga”, the Swahili word for maize flour, are a common sight at opposition rallies.

Esther Passaris, a candidate from the National Super Alliance (NASA), a coalition of five opposition parties, accused the government of ignoring expert advice.

(read more).



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