Kenyan politicians have lost all shame as they out-do each other in squeezing the last drop of blood from the country’s long-suffering citizens.
It is now emerging that politicians and their allies are putting pressure on the state-owned National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) to stop selling staple grains to milling companies.
Instead, the NCPB is forced to sell to the politicians at low prices so that they can demand hefty profit margins from millers.
As a result, consumer prices for maize meal have risen from Kshs85 (US1.1) to Kshs120 ($1.5) within a week. The price increase is disastrous in a country where more than half the population is surviving on less than $1 per day.
Kenya’s supermarket shelves are empty, an eerie resemblance to the situation in Zimbabwe. As a result of this unprecedented state of affairs, massive discontent is brewing among the Kenyan populace, as a greedy ruling elite plots the next orgy of rape, murder and ethnic cleansing.
In recent weeks, Kenyan legislators and judges have resisted paying taxes even as manual labourers earning a few dollars a day bear the burden of financing a bloated 42 member cabinet.
Below are excerpts of the story from the Daily Nation (click here for the full story).
A racket involving senior politicians and businessmen has been blamed for the artificial shortage of maize and maize flour that has hit many parts of the country.
Investigations by the Nation indicate that the politicians have been buying maize from the cereals board and selling it to millers at exorbitant prices.
Letters from the Ministry of Agriculture are being used by the cartel to authorize the purchase of maize from the National Cereals and Produce Board. The cartel later resells the maize to millers at a higher price.
The shortage of maize has seen the price of the staple maize meal shoot from an average Sh85 a week ago to Sh120 for the two-kg packet.
Sources have revealed that those in the cartel, including a number of MPs, have made millions of shillings from the dubious deals.
On Monday, Prime Minister Raila Odinga held a crisis meeting with a Cabinet sub-committee on food security where they decided that middlemen be pushed out of the maize business.
Fears are also emerging that the cartel has been engaging in similar dealings for sugar and fertiliser, whose prices have been on the increase since the beginning of the year.
The politicians and businessmen are said to be buying a 90-kg bag of maize at Sh1,700 ($21.8) and selling it to the millers at between Sh2,200 and Sh2,700 ($28.2 – $34.6).
It is, however, believed that the politicians are not using their money in the shady deals. Instead, they have been acting as brokers. According to one reliable source, several associates of the politicians showed up three weeks ago at the cereals board depots with letters authorizing them to buy 25,000 bags of maize each.
After the dubious deal, each of the politicians earned between Sh12.5 million and Sh25 million ($160,000 – $320,000) depending on the price at which they sold the maize.
The price of maize flour has shot up by up to 50 per cent in the recent past to retail at Sh120. Millers have warned of an acute shortage of the product that was selling at between Sh80 and Sh85 only a week ago.
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