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H.  15 Jumada I 1432 No: 15
M.  Monday, 18 April 2011

Press Release

People in East Africa including Kenya are now experiencing a sharp rise in the cost of living. The prices of essential commodities like maize, bread, sugar and milk is too high. It is stated that this resulted from the increase of the fuel price. This problem has caused great worry in the masses as it estimated that big percentage of Kenyan citizen leave below one US dollar per day (equivalent to Ksh.80/=). While the Kenyan masses undergo this tragic situation their so-called leaders have decidedly become blind, deaf and dumb, but when you look at them standing in their political campaign rallies they are pleasant-looking and nice-sounding. But in reality they are no more than blocks of wood propped up! They are only engaged in spreading falsehood and hate politics that seem to be helpless to the ordinary people. The Islamic political party Hizb ut-Tahrir East Africa deems the acts by these so-called leaders as a betrayal upon the public. The Hizb understands that it is the government's duty to fulfill the basic needs of the people which include food, clothing and shelter. And common people don't buy bread or milk by the noise of the politicians who normally fight for power to enrich them.

The two main reasons used to justify the price explosion are:

1. Fuel price increase influences the price of the essential commodities, and

2. Commodity shortage in the markets.

However,  these two reasons should be clarified so that the common people understand its reality.
In regards to the rise of petrol/fuel prices, this results from the monopolization in production of oil. In the Arab world, most of the oil fields are owned by western multinational companies who own the gigantic oil companies with some link to local politicians. They monopolise oil production, supply and even fix the price. They also use the OPEC cartel to dictate all aspects of the oil business. This corrupt reality is ignored by the West that cites the political crises as the main factor in oil price. In the Islamic economic system all forms of monopolization of any commodity, let alone essential commodities, is completely forbidden. In the hadith narrated by Imam Muslim from the chain of Sa'id Musayab from Muamar who said: The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: "Whoever monopolizes is a wrongdoer."

With regard to the shortage of basic commodities in the markets, this is directly due to government negligence which focuses on cash crops production rather than the production of the main food staples. An example is that we often see the price of sugar and maize increasing, yet we see no increase in the price of a mosquito coil since the government focuses on pyrethrum rather than maize. Does it mean that the government seeks to prevent its citizens dying from malaria but does not care when the same citizens are killed by hunger?! A shortage of commodities leads to the increase of price. The concept of focusing on production in cash crops rather than the production of the staple foods is imposed by the western powers to weaken the economy of our countries since the colonialist West looks to our countries as their farm! In the Islamic economic system, the primary economic problem to be addressed is not merely production of commodities but rather the distribution of wealth. This is contrary to capitalist economic system which focuses on production at the expense of distribution. This is why we find in all capitalist states, people are afflicted with hunger in some areas while other people throw away  food.

An example here in Kenya is that people in Turkana suffer from hunger while in western Kenya surplus maize is fed to cows!  Yet the government is silent as a corpse and does not ensure transportation and distribution of staple foodstuff. During the Caliphate of Umar ibn Al-Khattab (the second Khalifah of the Muslim nation) when the people of the province of Hijaz suffered extreme famine, he did not impose artificial price controls but rather found a permanent solution by importing essential foodstuff from other provinces of the Islamic State, namely Egypt and the Levant (Al-Sham), and thus prices in Madinah fell sharply due to availability of commodities in the markets. Where in the current world can we find a just leader like Umar (may Allah be pleased with him)? The Hizb firmly believes that the Islamic State (Caliphate) that is imminently expected, alone can comprehensively solve all the economic crises caused by the evils of western capitalism and its attendant corrupt politicians who compete like devils for power at any cost!

Shabani Mwalimu
Media Representative
Hizb ut-Tahrir East Africa

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