Citizen TV Live Supermarket Broadcast Contradicts Lowering of Cooking Oil Price Claims

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During a live Citizen TV appearance, Moses Kuria, Cabinet Secretary for Investment, Trade, and Industry, faced embarrassment when he made an unverified statement. This incident occurred during a joint production by Royal Media Services called ‘The Big Conversation,’ which focused on assessing President William Ruto’s one-year performance in office. The situation unfolded when Sam Gituku, a news anchor from Citizen TV, provided an estimated price for cooking oil in the country on September 13, 2023, indicating it to be Ksh.340 per liter, a decrease from Ksh.450 on the same date the previous year. Shortly after Kuria’s statement, he was fact-checked and found to have presented information without the proper verification. However, the CS took issue with the provided figure, asserting that measures implemented by the Kenya Kwanza government had significantly reduced the cost, contrary to the mentioned estimate.

Trade CS Moses Kuria

He expressed his dissatisfaction with the reported figures, saying, “I wish your figures were accurate. You claim that your TV is the most-watched in the country, so remember that someone is observing you from a supermarket, so exercise caution.”

CS Kuria contended that the cost of cooking oil was much lower than the given projection, emphasizing, “Cooking oil is priced much lower than what you have indicated, and Kenyans are aware of this. You have correctly mentioned that the price has decreased, but it’s not even close to the level you’ve mentioned. It has decreased by 50% since we assumed office.”

When asked by Gituku to provide his own estimate to counter the Ksh.340 figure, CS Kuria claimed that he had reliable information indicating that the price of cooking oil was at least Ksh.100 lower than the journalist’s estimate. He stated, “It’s much lower than that, around Ksh. 230 to Ksh. 240 … everyone can have their own opinions, but not their own facts. Facts are universal.” Less than 20 minutes later, Citizen TV’s reporter, John Wanyama, went live from a Naivas supermarket in the North Rift town to display the prices of various cooking oil brands. Some figures were lower than Gituku’s projection, while others were higher, but none aligned with CS Kuria’s purported authoritative figure. The on-the-spot check by Wanyama revealed that one brand was selling one liter of cooking oil for Ksh. 355, another for Ksh. 347, with the relatively cheaper options priced at Ksh. 307 and Ksh. 325. When confronted with these new figures, CS Kuria’s response was to suggest that the Citizen TV crew in Eldoret should now visit Ruiru and examine prices there, stating, “We’re here for two hours; what’s the rush?”

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