Enough Is Enough!
By CPA Samwel Baraka Ochieng
In response to the worsening cost of living in the United Kingdom, Enough is Enough campaign was launched by trade unions and community organizations determined to push back against the misery forced on the citizens by rising bills, low wages, food poverty, shoddy housing and a society run only for a wealthy elite. The campaign’s five point pillars call for real improvements in wages, benefits, and workers’ rights; reduction of the steep rise of energy bills that pushes working households into poverty as fossil fuel giants rake in record profits; elimination of hunger; guaranteeing quality housing programs for all; and making big businesses and the rich pay their fair share in taxes.
Mick Lynch, a British trade unionist and the general secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) said, “People are getting poorer every day. They can’t pay their bills; they’re being treated despicably in the workplace.” Another advocator Zarah Sultana, a British Labour Party politician and a Member of Parliament (MP) for Coventry South voices, “There’s a huge appetite for a campaign that tackles the cost-of-living crisis and forces our demands up the political agenda.” She further elucidated “Things can’t go on like this: record profits for big businesses, record number of billionaires, record wealth for the top ten percent, but life is getting harder for everyone else.”
Speaking to the British daily newspaper, the Guardian, a worried Sultana pressed on “Our political class is failing the people of Britain, refusing to offer answers that meet the needs of the many and tackle the greed of the few. That has to change – and fast.” As reported by the United Kingdom’s (UK) Office for National Statistics (ONS), the country’s inflation hit double digits for the first time in more than 40 years, recording 10.1% in the 12 months to July 2022 in a country whose inflation target is 2% based on the Consumer Price
Index (CPI). According to International Monetary Fund (IMF), “CPIs are index numbers that measure changes in prices of goods and services purchased or otherwise acquired by households, which households use directly or indirectly to satisfy their own needs and wants.
As the crusaders of enough is enough campaign builds in the UK, we equally resound, “Enough is enough,” as the country urgently needs a change of thought and direction. Stakes are high, the aspiration bar is up to the ceiling, and the citizens are upbeat but resources are evidently scarce. To hit the citizens’ expectations, a disciplined government is not an option – it’s the sole route.
In practice, CPIs are calculated as weighted averages for a specified set, or “basket”, of consumer products,
the weights reflecting their relative importance in household consumption in some period.” Bank of England (BOE) inflation projections for the year 2022 are even uglier as it points the country is on the verge of a recession that can detrimentally affect the standard of living of the citizens. Inflation is a measure of
how much the prices of goods (such as food etc.) and services (such as bus fare, legal advice, etc.) have gone up over time.
Thus, inflation does not show how high commodity prices are historically, but simply how much higher or lower the prices are than last year. So, if inflation is 8.32% today it means the prices are –– on average for a basket of goods, 8.32% higher than they were a year ago. For example, if a loaf of bread was priced at Ksh. 50 in the 12 months to August last year and now it’s at Ksh 50.08 then its price has risen by 8%. The Guardian’s money and consumer editor, Hilary Osborne argues that inflation rate should be high enough to encourage people not to sit on all of their cash and wait for prices to go down but low enough to allow people to plan and wages to keep up.
Since if inflation is too low, say 0% or even to a negative of say -2%, then some people may postpone spending because they expect prices to fall further. The products and or services consumers buy daily create the demand that keeps companies profitable and hire new employees. This reduces unemployment,
raises living standards, and increases government revenues through taxes –– direct or indirect. Whereas, the absence of enough spending negatively impacts the economy as it results in reduced profits, unemployment, increased social transfers, and loss of government revenue.
The World Bank’s (WB) measure of the economic output of United Kingdom (UK) per person in US Dollars as of the year 2021 was 47,334.4 while that of Kenya was 2,006.8. According to The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), the inflation rate is 8.32% in the 12 months to July 2022. Kenya concluded its General Elections on the 9th of August 2022 and a new political administration is set to take over the country’s rule from the Jubilee Party of Kenya which has ruled since 2017.
President Kenyatta has headed the government since 2013 when he ascended to power through Jubilee
Alliance and his curtain falls after exhausting the constitutional cap of the service of a president of 10 years. As he readies to pass the button, he bequeaths, among other things, stagnant pay for the workers, growing youth unemployment, Covid-19 impacted economy, spiraling public debt, high cost of staple foodstuffs
and services, corruption menace, extra-judicial killings, a depreciated shilling, lack of affordable housing, and unrealized free basic education.
As the crusaders of enough is enough campaign builds in the UK, we equally resound, “Enough is enough,” as the country urgently needs a change of thought and direction. Stakes are high, the aspiration bar is up to the ceiling, and the citizens are upbeat but resources are evidently scarce. To hit the citizens’ expectations,
a disciplined government is not an option – it’s the sole route. We need an administration that should veer the country off the Jubilee Party of Kenya’s existing path. As fate would have it, all the presidential hopefuls pledged to better our living standards. For example, a quick scan through the Kenya Kwanza’s manifesto reveals a phrase “Kazi Ni Kazi, Pesa Mfukoni” jingle.
The slogan excites a concerted approach to nation building and a call to respect all vocations regardless of whether or not it’s a blue collar occupation (those that involve a greater degree of physically taxing or manual labour i.e., the mama mbogas,boda bodas, farmers, mechanics, and electricians) or white-collar occupation (work in office settings in clerical, or administrative roles). Kenyans expect an economy that works for all and never again should our accent, letter of our names, place of descent, level of education, etc. define our destiny and determine what opportunities we can seize.
Assuredly, indolence must be shunned if we are to bring to a halt all the miseries the country is currently grappling and put money into our pockets. As oblique and equally opaque as the future may hold, a positive attitude by every citizen will quickly bring things to order.
In addition, we deserve a government that rewards meritocracy over kakistocracy, works for the commoners over aristocrats and protects both the mighty and the humble in our borders. To achieve this, we need all hands on deck. Admittedly, it has never been put better than as is in the words of the military band, Maroon Commandos’ renowned piece of art “Uvivu Mbaya”.
They admonished that “Uvivu ni adui mkubwa, wa ujenzi wa taifa, kwani ndicho kiini hasa kisababishacho njaa, Ewe ndugu yangu wee, amka kumekucha kamata jembe na panga, twende shamba, hata wewe mwanangu amka kumekucha, kwani hizi ndizo saa za kwenda shule, hata wewe Karani amka kumekucha
kwani hizi ndizo saa za kwenda kazi …”
Assuredly, indolence must be shunned if we are to bring to a halt all the miseries the country is currently grappling and put money into our pockets. As oblique and equally opaque as the future may hold, a positive attitude by every citizen will quickly bring things to order. Let us go out there and conquer, burn to
the residual moist our lantern oils and cast our endeavour nets wider enough to capture the last shreds of success. At his inauguration as president of the Democratic Republic of South Africa (1994), Nelson Mandela opined
“As the first President of a united, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist South Africa, to lead our country out of the valley of darkness. We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom. We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success. We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world. Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all.
Let there be work, bread, water, and salt for all. Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world. Let freedom reign.”
CPA Samwel Baraka Ochieng is a member of ICPAK