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Price Gouging in Kenya amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic


This article was written by Arnold Ombasa, an LLB student studying at Strathmore University Law School. It is part of a research initiative hosted by the Strathmore Law Review on the legal implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  1. Introduction

The past couple of months have been a startling time for many people in the world. Some businesses, schools, sporting events and many other events have been shut down because of the novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). For many, this kind of disruption is unlike anything they’ve experienced and only the survivors of the last world war can perhaps claim to have experienced something similar. If one was to interview these survivors, they would tell tales of people trying to profit off the crisis.

From global crises such as the World War II to regional -specific crises such as hurricanes, instances of raising prices of essential items in an attempt to make supernormal profits abound. In that sense, the COVID-19 pandemic is not very different. This unconscionable raising of prices during times of disaster is what is known as price gouging.  In Kenya, an instance of price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic occurred when Cleanshelf supermarkets caught media.