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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Is The Kenyan Economy On The Brink Of Shutting Down?

Plus: What will happen when you meet a Kibaki descendant at some cocktail party 30 years from now.




Business and economics is boring to most people, but I will keep this very simple, so please bear with me. This is very important and is bound to affect every Kenyan.

Over 300 CEOS based in Kenya recently came out in a strong lobby to political leaders to come back to their senses. Led by the brilliant Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph, the most important part of their message was a warning. Some politicians seem to think that if the violence were to stop today, life would immediately go back to normal. It is not quite as simple as that and after you read through this post, you will begin to understand why.

Let’s say you were a chief executive of a company handling consumer products, sitting somewhere in Industrial Area Nairobi. Where would your big markets be? Here I am sure I will surprise you.

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22 comments:

The Benevolent Swordsman said...

I find it impossible to understand why Mr. Kibaki is not paying attention to our National plight. While Kenyans continue to suffer, lives and livelihoods are lost, Mr. Kibaki is nowhere to be seen or heard. To whom is it surprising that Kenyans voted this man out of office, or who understands not the reasons why we did so?

It is obvious that as negotiations have progressed, the positions of PNU and ODM have changed. As ODM has dropped the call for re-tallying and Kibaki's resignation, PNU is now saying re-tallying ought to be done. As ODM has dropped the rejection of a unity government, PNU is saying this is unnecessary, and unlikely. How can he be holding dialogue, negotionas or whatever you may call it, and then chair a conference on the same subject under the auspices of IGAD! It seems that Kibaki and his team are taking Kenyans through some legal and psychological gerrymandering, that will only hurt the country.

I can only remind my readers that Mr. Kibaki deserves every barb that he gets. Let us not forget that his "hands off leadership" is really a pretext for inability to lead. By the very definition, a leader is a person who has the ability to guide, direct, or influence people. Guiding, directing or influencing people does not happen in osmosis. It is a paritcipative function of interaction between the leader and his subordinates, no pun intended. By his absence, past and present, Mr. Kibaki has shown that he did not deserve to be elected to the great office of "President of the Republic of Kenya". It is no secret that as one who would not pass the opportunity to sit on the fence or bury his head in the sand like an ostrich, this position came his way by an accident of fate.

I am sure that some would argue that Mr. Kibaki indeed is a leader, but I beg to differ. What I see is a man detached from reality, either unwilling or unable to respond to the cries of the suffering people. I have no illusions about the facade that his handlers are presenting to the public, a facade that leaves many bewildered at what they see and hear. Take for instance, President Museveni's appeal for Kenyans to maintain peace. It left no doubt that this was an outside party, appealing to Kenyans for calm. Rwanda's Kagame also commented in a similar fashion -understandably so. However, it was surprising that Kibak's appeal also rang of the same tone whenever he spoke. To an unknowing foreigner, it would be impossible to tell among th three, who was "Kenya's president." He spoke like an outsider looking in - untouched and unaffected by the chaos in the country.

What kind of "leader" hides when the battle is raging? When Kenyans are hoping to hear significant and compelling appeals from ODM and PNU, the latter treat us to legalistic nonsense from ethnocentric holdouts that have no mandate to speak on Kenyas' behalf. The likes of Karua and Michuki have no legal standing in the presidential election debacle. It is obvious that theri hardline positions are self serving and are aimed to protect their ministerial positions which they will inevitably lose. It is either that they are the puppeteers behind the scenes, and Kibaki's will is yet unknown to Kenyans, or that Kibaki is so conniving that he is not the "gentleman of Kenyan politics" like some have thought.

For those who may not know, a very effective schemmer, devious in his ways and resolute in his quest can often be mistaken for a leader. The difference that we all ought to look out for is that leaders serve others, while connivers are self serving. Leaders act openly and empathetically for the benefit of the greater good, while actions of conniving schemmers are selfish, underhand and are only known after the die has been cast. It seems that Mr. Kibaki no longer sees himself living in any other capacity among Kenyans. Either his is president or he is president. Althernatively, given his public gaffes that leave us befuddled, he could be prisoner to hardliners who have no national mandate. A more powerful clique that make Kitchen cabinets a thing of the past. Whatever the case, does he represent the leadership that Kenyans want and need, or is he simply a pretender to the throne? Its your call!

The Benevolent Swordsman

[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][] said...

Is the econmoy in a fire? No, we are fine, donst spread rumars

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 8.51; Get real! The economy has certainly taken a hit from this crisis.

To our CEOs; support efforts to get Kenya LASTING solutions to the issues that provoked the crisis: land grievances and weak constitutions.

That way, your enterprises will not be interupted by violence every now and then.

Anonymous said...

These business leaders are just starting to sound selfish. Why on earth aren't they joining the majority of Kenyans who want change?

The economy will truly flourish when we are all governed by just institutions.

Kemmy said...

Anon @ 8:51, you sound like Mutua. Continue living in your little bubble, thinking that the post-election Kenya is the same as the Kenya we knew last year. You're in for a rude shock if you live in Kenya.

What I find interesting in this whole thing is that the government is increasing taxes on businesses instead of doing the opposite. In this case, it might serve them well to copy Bush's desperate attempt to save the American economy from going to hell by dishing out money to Americans.

Anonymous said...

The gvt is running out of dollars to flood the market with so as to create the impression that the Ksh is stable.

By March we will get the real picture

Anonymous said...

Half of Kenyans were living below the poverty line before this crisis.

Many more were destined to join them with our without the violence.

Kenyans must grab the opportunity 2008 has presented to us by making drastic changes at governmental level.

Anonymous said...

IF YOU WANT TO KNOW OUR ECONOMY IS DYEING IF NOT DEAD YET- HOW MANY HAVE SEEN KIMUNYA STRUTTING LIKE A PEACOCK LATELY?
-TEACHERS CIVIL SERVANTS HAVE NOT BEEN PAID BCOZ THERE IS NO MONEY?

COMPANIES DEALING WITH BUSINESSES INVOLVING IMPORTS AND EXPORTS ARE ON THE VERGE OF CLOSING. SHIPMENTS ARE TAKING OVER 2 MONTHS TO DESTINATIONS AND CUSTOMERS ARE NOT THAT PATIENT!

PUNU THINKS THAT THE OTHER PPLE HAVE MORE TO LOSE THAN THEM THEY DO NOT CARE ABT ANYTHING OR ANYONE. IF WE LOSE WE ALL LOSE HENCE KAMANI MBAYA NI MBAYA ANAN AISHIYE THE FEW THAT WILL REMAIN WILL REMAIN AND TELL THE BEAUTIFUL STORY OF OUR LIBERATION TO FUTURE GENERATIONS AU SIYO?

Phil said...

Chris,

(sorry this was initially posted in the wrong thread)

Do not let anyone fool you with all the nice words. 75% of those CEOs who met Annan are the same ones who attended Kibaki's 1million per plate dinner and most of them continue to support an illegitimate government. In the Kenya we have right now, woe unto any business that plays partisan politics. Ask Citi Hoppa or even Nation Newspapers and they will tell you the pressure they are under.

I am surprised you are referring to Michael Joseph as brilliant. I wonder which sane person would have failed to steer safaricom to where it is considering how the market was manipulated in their favour probably due to that silent shareholder known as Telea.

Right now, Safaricom CEO is obviously feeling the heat from ODM's economic boycott. He didnt see it coming! Very few people in rural areas are using safaricom, and sales from their highly profitable bamba so moja and bamba 50 cards have plummeted!!!!!

You must remember, in the recent past Safaricom had the guts to send texts to its subscribers asking them to refrain from sending inflammatory messages on its network, YET prior to the elections, PNU were allowed to have a propaganda field day against ODM, expecially during the time people could not discern the difference between majimbo and ugatuzi! At that time, Safaricom were laughing all the way to the bank. As I type these lines I can tell you, there is already a big dent on their monthly revenues and subscriber numbers have decreased significantly at the benefit of celtel (one regional network)and suprisingly Telkom Wireless. This because Michael Joseph has allowed himself to be politically used by PNU insiders - NOT TO FORGET HE IS PART OF THE COVER-UP TO KEEP TELEA (EA) LTD SHARE HOLDING SECRET.

When the live media broadcast ban was at its peak, Safaricom deliberately downed its data transmission lines because they knew most people were still receiving information via the same network. Safaricom even went further and breached customer confidentiality by openly revealing subscriber details recordings to NSIS and CID!!!!! Some of its subscribers are already in custody and will apppear in court soon - to be charged on the strength of evidence supplied by safaricom.

No one talks politics on safaricom lines any more. Its a big risk.

Kaeni na hiyo safaricom yenu. Hata heri telkom wireless ama celtel.

Better still, tukutaneni pale inje Nairobi cinema (Uchumi House) tuchape siasa kama wananchi. Every evening from 5.30pm except sundays.

Anonymous said...

the economy will not be affected......a re-run is out of the question it's too expensive........we have saved money for the FREE secondary education that will not be affected........HOWEVER parents will PAY ...xyz....the government will only pay for schools that adhere to our guidelines......a maximum of 45 students in a classroom.....


do you see a pattern of lies here? it would have been so much cheaper to do the re-run kimunya!!!

Anonymous said...

Kumekucha is proved right in the end so many times. That is why this blog has over a million hits.

Just read this story by the Associated Press;

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/02/06/africa/kenya.php

As Peace Corps leaves Kenya, foreign companies lose confidence

The Associated PressPublished: February 7, 2008

NAIROBI: Weeks of post-election bloodshed are having a devastating effect on Kenya's economy and the country's vital tourism industry, and it is prompting foreign companies to consider pulling out, business leaders have warned.

With confidence in Kenya's future waning, the U.S. Peace Corps said Tuesday that it was temporarily sending back to the United States the 58 volunteers remaining in Kenya. It had already sent back 86 volunteers in January.

There are fears that other organizations - aid groups and businesses alike - will follow the lead of the Peace Corps if the violence that has engulfed Kenya since the Dec. 27 election, which local and foreign observers say was rigged in favor of President Mwai Kibaki, does not end soon.

Patriot Damu

mrembowaodm said...

how people have been fooled into believing odm incited violence is beyond me.

i have no penchant for violence in my body but when kivuitu announced kibaki had won-i was ready to beat up kibaki, karua, mama indecently dressed and michuki- and destroy all buildings on muranga road coz the anger in me was just too great-of course i did not act on my feelings(wouldn't have gotten the opportunity even if i wanted to do it so bad)but some people chose not to restrain themselves and did those vile acts, before you jump on me i do not condone what they did at all but i think i understand where they came from. am sorry to say this but now i understand osama and his peeps a little bit better-after all i have felt how intense anger can make you think of destroying peoples property and flogging them silly.

you people cannot understand how much hope we had on changing things around here- we stood in the hot sun for more than three hours waiting patiently to vote for Raila who had promised us the kind of change that we wanted, it is beyond you to understand this after all everyone in your fold is satisfied with the way things are run, you do not care that many people by virtue of not being from central province are sleeping hungry in their homes, you do not understand that when you come out of central where the tarmac road is redone every three months leading right up to your precious coffee farms there are places where there is no road or the murram highway cannot even be upgraded by the government- you dont understand the bitterness of having people living in the tsavo areas have a million tourists coming to see the wildlife in their backyard, have elephants destroy their farms every now and again and then at the end of it all sleep hungry because all the money brought in by tourism is siphoned to central province and Nairobi, as am sure you cannot understand that people in north eastern need affirmative action in terms of the development agenda, they are living in dry areas that cannot sustain agriculture they need to feel as though they are part of Kenya and ignoring them for years on end is not helping it has only alienated them more and more.

i am sure you are also not aware of the arrogance you portray because you have that ingrained in you.....you may not notice it but everybody else does..... that is why you have no problem speaking to every tom, dick and harry on the street in your mother-tongue or have weddings and funerals in nairobi no less, where you only speak that language-do you see other people clustering around themselves in public to speak their languages? it is not bad to speak your language but it would help if you were considerate to others.

now you also know before the elections people on different sides of the divide were debating very hotly and accusing each other of all sorts of things i can tell you i avoided speaking to all pnu people, my friends included to avoid serious confrontations with them.....now tell me, there was so much tension before the elections how did you expect people to diffuse it after we had seen(not told!!) with our own eyes on live tv that mwai kibaki had stolen the presidency........you guys in the name of the police decided to ban all peaceful protests (those protests were all designed and expected to be peaceful but the police must have had instructions to provoke the protesters), you barricaded uhuru park where we were going to mourn for the loss of our victory .....of course your superiority did not allow you to see the pain that the masses felt -and so when people decided to channel their anger to pnu friendly people it shocked you...why?…….you did not see this coming? i will not pretend that i was shocked i think to a certain level it was expected.

i am yet to hear of the precise words ruto and friends told people to go kill their kikuyu neighbours because i am in ODM and haven't heard any of my leaders telling any one to go murder anyone-i will stand by my party-since all i have heard is their call for us to do our things in a peaceful manner so that we do not weaken the fight for our cause.

Kenyan Tribal Warlords said...

Mrembo, things will be better soon. President Raila is meeting with the thief to sign some stuff.

Wanjiku - Mombasa said...

Mrembo wa ODM, I'm also Mrembo wa ODM but from Central. Before you accuse us of walking on manicured roads, I'm from a coffee growing area but I most certainly do not have any tarmac leading to our precious farm. We go by tarmac only upto to about 70 kilometers of my village then take a ramshackle matatu the rest of the way. That is when it's not raining. When it rains it's a different goo. As for the tarmac retouching every three months, you know that is not true.

I do agree though on the mother tongue and arrogance thing. I too hate it especially mother tongue in the office. Only I'd prefer to call it chauvinism. I think it's true that most of us from Central are chauvinists.

We all know where roads are used to dry maize and for goats to bask.

Anonymous said...

i have gone to a place where there were lot of coffee farms in central, i was told they belong to a kibaki ally trounced in the elections by another kibaki ally and am not cheating you there was tarmac inside the plantations!!

you do all know who i am talking about!!hint hint ........he cannot speak english to save his life.

Anonymous said...

Hey Warembo wa ODM, its ok to have the roads inside plantations or for goats to bask on. The important thing is all pple need to have them everywhere in Kenya. The NEP needs to have roads leading to his grazing fields just as much as the Fishermen need to have roads leading to the lake? Ata wakipenda kuanika omena huko ni sawa tu!
The thing is all tax payers shld be equal and none shld be more equal than the other au siyo?

Anonymous said...

Some of the individuals posting replies here need to take a hard look at themselves. They sound so illiterate ,their grammar and spelling is appalling and to top it off have nothing of value to add.
I wonder what the demographic here is.
Rule of thumb. If you are not familiar with basic English or Swahili ..STAY OUT OF THE KITCHEN !

Anonymous said...

@5.54 absolutely!! that is what odm is about, even if we want to dry omena on the road leave us to do it.

let us all be equal other people should not be made to be more equal than others, when collecting tax there is no differentiation so why should there be differences when it comes to spending.

Anonymous said...

anon 5.54,
buahahaha. (no sarcasm) Humuor always soothes the hurt and despair kenyans are feeling, although in reality 1000 dead 1 million displaced is not funny.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 5.54; That is why we will not rest until constitutional changes give us a weaker president and majimboism.

anon said...

anon 8:11 we've had a weak president since 2002

Anonymous said...

10.23 its true we've heard a weak president. however presidential powers must be reduced regardless of whether the occupier is weak or not...you definitely dont want a strong Agwambo type occupying that seat in the future with all the powers congested on that seat....some people may find it very hard to breathe... thats why the ODM manifesto was more about institutions than anything else.

Long live Raila Odinga the blessed President of Kenya.

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