Wednesday September 5, 2018
Motorists in Wajir have peacefully demonstrated against the higher fuel prices and defiant businessmen's decisions to charge them even more.
A litre of petrol in the county now costs Sh145, up from the Sh125 drivers paid before the introduction of the 16 percent VAT.
In the demonstration on Tuesday, taxi, tuk tuk and truck drivers met at Wajir Qorahey grounds and then marched to the county commissioner’s office to present their grievances.
Mr Hashim Ibrahim, chairman of the Wajir Taxi Association, urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene as soon as he returns to the country.
Of the business, Mr Ibrahim said: ”I still don’t understand who has given them the authority to raise the cost of petrol yet the government's directive was for it to be Sh130."
The chairman noted that many youths are in the taxi business and that many women prefer this means of transport. They have been seriously affected by the higher prices, he said, adding motorists use a lot of fuel due to the poor state of the county's roads.
He asked Wajir East MP Rashid Kassim to hold talks with petrol owners as the cost was increased without their consent.
Taxi owner Mr Salat Garane said majority of them cannot afford the commodity and that the price increase has put their livelihoods at stake.
“All we are left to do is park our vehicles and wait since the price is too high for us,” he said.
Mr Ahmed Musa, another taxi owner, called on the government to protect the public against exploitation by businessmen, whom he said do not care about their welfare.
Mr Musa further said that the higher price shows that the government has "totally forgotten" about them.
The businessman also pointed out that fuel prices have continued to increase since the last rainy season when most roads in the county were impassable.
“I wonder if we have a government since the common mwananchi is suffering," he said, and asked authorities to meet petrol station owners and discuss a solution.
The protesters said they will boycott business until the government takes action.