Tackle runaway cost of living to avert disturbances By Editor THIS DAY 28th April 2011 With the cost of living continuing to skyrocket, urgent measures are needed to save the general public from economic hardships they are currently enduring. Fuel prices have surpassed the 2000/- per litre mark and with the look of things, there is no hope of having the prices coming down anytime sooner, instead, the prices are set to rise further. Food prices on the other hand are fast becoming out of reach for many ordinary citizens as traders continue to take advantage of the situation by raising them as and when they see it fit. Sugar, for example, has become a luxury for many people as the prices are prohibitive. A kilogramme of sugar costs not less than 2000/- in many retail outlets around the country. These economic hardships are not only peculiar to Tanzania but are gripping the whole of East Africa. In Uganda and Kenya, wananchi are not taking it lightly and have been forced to act. This has sparked demonstrations that have seen many people losing their lives while dozens others were injured. In Uganda, at least 104 people were arrested for participating in the Walk-to-Work campaign last week alone while in Kenya hundreds of activists held street demonstrations in Mombasa and Nairobi last week, demanding a quick intervention to reduce the prices of food and fuel. Recently, the opposition Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA) staged demonstrations in Lake Zone regions to petition the government to put mechanisms to lower the cost of living. This seems to have fallen on deaf ears and as we speak, the government seems to be taking a lackadaisical approach to this problem. The wind of instability seems to be blowing across Africa as countries take turns to invade the streets, demonstrating for various purposes. This has resulted in leadership changes in Egypt and Tunisia while Libya is in turmoil following such demonstrations. The government of this country should, therefore, not wait for the situation to deteriorate in order for them to act. The right time to deal with the situation is now before everything goes out of hand. The government should come up with measures to alleviate the suffering of wananchi, who are finding it difficult to put food on the table. The prices of basic commodities continue to rise while salaries remain low. Inflation in this country seems to be under control but in reality it is rising. Tanzania is a peaceful country and the government should help preserve it by acting now than later. Wananchi have suffered enough and this should give the government sleepless nights in a bid to solve the problem. Demonstrations and disturbances are retrogressive and should not be given any room to disturb the country's hard-earned peace. The time is to act is now.