The Njaa Revolution (Hunger Revolution) march was held in Nairobi on May 17, promoted by the Revolutionary Socialist League, Kenyan section of the International Socialist League. Here is the statement read at the protest and the declaration released to the media.
Kenya is a country of ten millionaires and ten million beggars. This was a warning, predictive phrase back then but now a painful reality that keeps unfolding every day – crushing the resilient spirit of patriotic and hardworking Kenyans. On this Labour Day as we reflect on the welfare and dignity of workers here in Kenya and around the world, we ask what country this is that is so determined to kill its people through an exploitative, oppressive economy that has turned Kenya into a country of 50 billionaires and 50 million beggars. That in 2022 under an elected government, children and infants are dying of hunger in Marsabit and Baringo, millions more are facing drought around the country and Kenyans of all walks of life are grappling with affording one meal a day yet the insensitive political cabal shamelessly traverses the country campaigning and selling snake oil, is to say the least repugnant.
This country under the Uhuruto presidency in the last ten years has experienced a steady downward spiral of the quality of life of Kenyans with the cost of living sky rocketing to unacceptable heights with no increase in income and high levels of unemployment. It has become an extreme sport surviving in Kenya with the prices of the most basic food commodities like maize flour, milk, bread hiking with every dawn. Kenyans have continued to demand for the lowering of food prices asking the government to introduce interventions to cushion citizens from the fluctuations, but instead the government has with a reeking attitude dismissed these calls and brazenly punished those that dare to question or protest the oppression, unleashing police terror on innocent Kenyans.
The government, with reckless abandon, has continued to acquire loans that further burden the common mwananchi yet they don’t benefit from these loans as corrupt dealers loot and embezzle them, completely bleeding the country. We can no longer appeal to an ill-mannered government that is hell bent on undignifying and killing its citizens. The projected growth in Kenya’s GDP can only make sense if every household especially those in the low income and unemployed brackets can afford at the very least, decent meals throughout the day. The conversation on food prices is only symptomatic; the root cause of our woes as Kenyans is an incompetent failed government that has no respect or regard for its citizens. As we are heading into an election, we unequivocally and with no fear of contradiction demand that real practical interventions are employed to ease the pressure on mwananchi or we shall mobilize for the boycotting of elections. With the same ease that ballot boxes find their way to even the most remote of places, so should the efforts of the government in reaching all Kenyans facing hunger and starvation. The government must move to revise taxes on basic food commodities and subsidize prices.
It is quite unfortunate that the country has been on campaign mode for the last five years with those elected only interested in advancing their selfish interests at the expense of citizens – completely neglecting their roles of representation. Office of the DPP is turning a blind eye to corruption cases in this electioneering period. Kenya deserves better and voters must now remember not to forget how hungry they have felt in the last five years even as the stomachs of those they elected bulged. We must all in one accord as citizens of this country punish these unscrupulous power dealers and dare to vote in new visionary, selfless and authentic leaders that will serve us with dignity and treat us with respect. Fagia wote. We must move beyond the constant whining and take back the reigns of our country from these neo liberal fascists.
In light of this, we hereby demand:
- Full implementation of Article 43 of the constitution which guarantees economic and social rights, including, but not limited to, the rights to food, housing, education and healthcare.
- Adoption and implementation of the Mwananchi budget which will regulate price of basic goods, including maize flour, milk, and even petroleum products like cooking gas. We will read and ratify this mwananchi budget in a few moments.
- Reduction of government spending on programs that are not of high priority to Kenyans. This involves reduction in official travels; unnecessary purchase of government vehicles, spending on hospitality, furniture, printing and advertisement to trim spending on expenditure.
- That corruption be classified and treated as treason – primarily for destroying our present and killing the future of our nation.
- That food is availed to all those facing hunger and starvation.
ALL FOR THE NJAA REVOLUTION!
YES TO THE LOWERING OF FOOD PRICES! NO TO INACCESSIBILITY OF BASIC COMMODITIES AND POVERTY!
It is without a doubt that life is getting increasingly unbearable for the people of Kenya. The prices of basic commodities keep rising everyday, with the majority of the people being unable to afford food, the most basic human right under our constitution. Foodstuff such as maize flour, cooking oil, rice, wheat and groceries are too expensive for ordinary Kenyans.
Further, we have witnessed a massive loss of jobs among our population and a terrible economic crisis due to state mismanagement and corruption. We are witnessing state demolitions carried out against the people. We are faced with an acute water shortage. Cases of police killings and brutality are on the increase. Majority of Kenyans cannot access proper medical services. Rent is unaffordable.
The gap between the richest and poorest has reached extreme levels in Kenya. Less than 0.1% of the population (8,300 people) own more wealth than the bottom 99.9% (more than 48 million people). The richest 10% of people in Kenya earned on average 23 times more than the poorest 10%.
People in Kenya are experiencing a gigantic wave of attacks. The crisis of neoliberalism throws many millions of people into poverty, the expansion of state repression threatens the limited democratic rights which have existed in parts of the world and the food crisis threatens the lives of many people.
THEREFORE, WE THE PEOPLE OF KENYA DEMAND:
- Immediate lowering of prices of food and other basic commodities
- Immediate scrap-off of increased taxes on fuel and other items
- Access to free and quality healthcare for everyone
- Provision of clean water for everyone
- Provision of decent housing for everyone, and an immediate suspension of rent
- Equitable access to jobs for everyone, and an end to mass unemployment
We the people of Kenya hereby thus make the following declaration;
That we consider the above demands as our cardinal pillars in our struggle for a dignified life; that we consider the fulfillment of these demands the necessary condition for decent and sustainable living, and that we shall not cease mass action unless these demands are met.
- We call upon the patriotic citizens of Kenya to rise up and demand to live a dignified life!
- We call upon the patriotic citizens of Kenya to join the push for equality, freedom and justice!
- We call upon the people of Kenya to stand up for their sake and for the sake of future generations!
- We call upon the people of Kenya to SAY NO TO STATE REPRESSION, POVERTY, UNEMPLOYMENT AND INCREASED PRICES OF BASIC COMMODITIES!
- We call upon the people of Kenya to join the PEOPLE’S FOOD PROTEST and SAY YES TO JOBS, AFFORDABLE FOOD, HEALTH AND DIGNIFIED LIVING!
NO FOOD, NO ELECTION!
PUNGUZA BEI YA UNGA!
LOWER FOOD PRICES!
THE PEOPLE, UNITED, SHALL NEVER BE DEFEATED!