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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Just How Broke Is The Kenyan Government?

When this crisis was just beginning and long before Kenyans and the international community knew who Mwai Kibaki really was, we tried to predict the outcome of this mess with a friend and we both agreed that the deadlock would not be broken by war or anything else.

It would all hinge on money.

If the Kibaki administration managed to keep the money flowing in and the bills paid, then it was going to be a long, long fight.

What we did not agree on with my friend (who is a financial expert and understands Kenya well) was just how vulnerable the Kenyan economy was. In his view it was going to take a lot to bring the folks at the Treasury down to their knees. He emphasized to me that the Kenyan economy was NOT the Zimbabwean economy. If truth be told, he has mostly been right. However a number of extraordinary factors have quickly combined to completely change the scenario.

Despite Finance Minister Amos Kimunya’s brave face and cocky statements to the effect that the economy would hardly be scathed even after the devastating post-election violence that has swept across the country, the reality is different.

We are not all financial experts so let’s keep this simple.

Imagine that Kenya is an individual who receives money but has numerous bills to pay. Survival hinges on receiving enough money to be able to pay their bills on time. Before we start looking at where the money is coming from it is important to note that this chap called Kenya hardly saves any money and in recent times has been a huge spender. That combination can be deadly.

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Wanjiku - Mombasa said...

Na bado. I still suggest that Trade Unions call for downing of tools countrywide. Even if for just one day and not in support of any party in particular. Then the leaders can have a better understanding of what role the slaving workforce plays day in day out to keep them in the money. Whichever side suffers most will buckle before they can say constitution.

This will not kill your businesses people. What will sound the death knell for your businesses and your lives is renewed chaos and God forbid full-out war. Someone accused me of incitement yesterday. Derek look at it this way, we wasted the first two weeks not working - and that was not by choice. Now let us waste one more day - by choice.

Anonymous said...

Civil Servants have not been paid yet.

Anonymous said...

Kenya govt says agrees in principle to PM post- ( with a sunset clause)
Thu Feb 21, 2008 2:56am

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's government has agreed in principle to the creation of a prime minister's post sought by the opposition, but the terms and duties are still being discussed, a government negotiator said on Thursday.

"That is more or less agreed on. What we are discussing now is the post's functions, responsibilities, nature of appointment and so on," Mutula Kilonzo, a negotiator at talks led by former U.N. chief Kofi Annan, told Reuters. "This will be an interim measure."

The opposition has demanded the post and a 50-50 split in cabinet positions.

It has threatened new street protests if there is no political solution within a week -- raising fears of more bloodshed after violence over the disputed December 27 election that has killed more than 1,000 people.

A senior opposition official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was discussion of two roles for the prime minister.

"One of them is some sort of chief minister ... or there is a head of government who is answerable to parliament and who is appointed and his conduct is regulated by the national assembly. You have a real separation of powers," the official said.

Asked if the position would have executive powers, Kilonzo said: "We will not give anybody a hollow shell."

He said the interim post would come with a sunset clause that causes the position to expire either when parliament is dissolved or when a new constitution is enacted.

(Reporting by Duncan Miriri, editing by Tim Pearce)

Anonymous said...

Yes Chris;

Let us hope that Kibaki's followers don't adopt the slogan: No Kibaki, No Kenya. They should not copy Raila's followers who used to wail: No Raila, No Peace; No Raila, No School; No Raila, No Railway Line ....

Did you see one of the penta-GOONS saying that a part of Kenya be fenced-off into a Lesotho surrounded by S. Africa. Wow!! I am sure some of the wives of these "leaders" wonder how they got married to maniacs who want to assassinate the Republic of Kenya.

Then, there is this case of Raila crying through the night because he fears he might die before ascending to state house; that he had promised his father in front of Luo elders to do so and avenge against the "wrongs" done to daddy by the "kabila adui yetu." No wonder there is this talk of turning a part of the country into a Lesotho. But as long as there are patriots (descendants of heroes like Kimathi) in Kenya, this will never happen.

The whole political class in Kenya is sick (PNU & ODM). Let all of us patriots resolve today that the problem is not between tribes, or between regions of the country. Let us talk to brothers like Taabu and make them realise that the real fight should be between the Hummer Class versus the Boda Boda Class. That is the only way we can bring equity by flashing out all the deceivers from every ridge and clan regardless of tribe.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:42, Leaders have not assassinated the republic of Kenya...Kibaki and his ilk did that!!!

And with this stupid comment that is not factual : Then, there is this case of Raila crying through the night because he fears he might die before ascending to state house; that he had promised his father in front of Luo elders to do so and avenge against the "wrongs" done to daddy by the "kabila adui yetu." No wonder there is this talk of turning a part of the country into a Lesotho. But as long as there are patriots (descendants of heroes like Kimathi) in Kenya, this will never happen. Your wife must also be wondering how the heck he got married to you that is if you are married at all!!!!

Wanjiku of Mombasa...Niko na wewe all through....Mass action and we stay in our house..and for any day we stay in the house then we don't pay tax.

Chris, by the way how come Kimunya is quiet, he has never told us how he is going to recover the money that was lost.....Walifikiri we will piga domo for two days then we give in....I think it is time women take over.....But Martha Karua we will denounce her let her play in the same league as men..She it too loud for us


Anonymous said...

We the Gikuyu say no to Executive PM. A ceremonial Premier, yes. The holder of executive power MUST face the ballot. Kenya should remain a presidential system (US) and not parliamentary (like the silly UK).
Now Raila can cry even more.
And Balala is an inciter, he has no Kenyan he is fighting for.(Sic on Citizen TV last night). DOM is 80% a propaganda machinery, 10% factual, the other 10% futile. WE RESIST INSISTENCE OF PROPAGANDA.

PNUist cum Govt Supporter.

Anonymous said...

Kibaki still has to ascent to most if not all of the stuff that 'jopo la Anan' (the team) is discussing. Though I feel the DOM side is coming too much, I am hoping Kibaki will not cede ground that much (to a point of Executive Premier).
He should hand the DOM guys a non-executive PM. Alafu Kazi iendelee......

Anonymous said...

Raila and ODM stand not for Kenyans in general, but for the 4.3m who voted Raila. Govt stands for over 5m, who voted Kalonzo and Kibaki. You silly DOM goons, I dont wish you have way because mko na Kiburi sana. I can not stand ODM rule, and so many other Kenyans. The likes of Balala only pain the supporters of PNU and the public in general for threats with infamous Mass Action. And now am wishing that even us the govt supporters come out and demonstrate that the so called Mass Action is not a monopoly of DOMs. Am now willing to take to the street to make these DOMers understand that am also a Kenyan.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:54 What are you waiting for...I think Mungiki Waruinge called for mass action in support of Kibaki and only a handful in Nairobi showed up

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:16, Kwani what do you take ODM for? A bunch of fools...this time no MOU will be signed on the corridors of that posh hotel...It will a broad day light thing and ODM must seek the mandate of "only" 4.3 Million Kenyans (adults and remember this figures were not changed at KICC) + their families

Anonymous said...

To Ann. 1:06-1:54;
You are missing the point, What is the % of the 5 million votes you are quoting that was for Kibaki? 1 Million was for Kalonzo, 1 Million fake votes. You are talking about 3 Million Votes.

Back to real issues, this country cannot be governed as it is. What is important is to hope that the eight in the mediation team will insist on constitution changes that will ensure that we have what Kibaki and his cronies wanted Kenyans to believe was an election. We need to have strong institutions that will assure even fanatics like you their comfort irrespective of who is the president/prime minister/vice president.

Anonymous said...

Chris are you an economist or financial expert? The truth is that the economy is fundamentaly weaker than it was pre-election violence, but it is only last year in the budget that many more projects were to be funded with revenue actually generated in Kenya, not with aid money. If you hear a Zimbabwean financial expert is telling you that the Kenyan economy will not be brought down to its knees just yet he is probably right. But, Kimunya was a bit too bold saying the economy would be unscathed, he sounds like Wall Street Bankers before the subprime morgage crisis

Anonymous said...

Anon @1:06:

Don't conflate your argument to make it look like the US system is similar to Kenyas. You claim that Kenya will have a "presidential system" a la US and not a parliamentary system like the UK. FYI, the US President is answerable to Congress and can be vetoed, impeached by the House of Representatives. The U.S President can also be vetoed by the Supreme Court via the invalidation of Statutes signed into law by the President. The U.S. President cannot dish out US property or commit the armed forces to foreign territories, without the consent of the Congress (yes, Bush has tried that too i.e. the military bases he wants built in Iraq). Unlike Kenya where the President decides, who every significant post, CONGRESS decides and vets the candidates, even Ambassadors, Judges/Justices. Lastly, the 3 arms of government are truly distinct (again Bush has indirectly tried to create an executive president using former AG Gonzalez to make the craziest arguments ever but that's another story, but has been stopped by the Courts). Another example is that Senators or House reps cannot be members of the Cabinet. That creates a distinct separation where the legislature and executive are not colluding to serve the interests/agenda of the Presidency. I doubt that would happen in Kenya. The "silly UK" system you refer allows that Country's system to function and checks the Prime Minister. That's why the two do not have the tyranny of the minority that we are witnessing in Kenya. I write this as a U.S. trained, licensed and practising lawyer, not some arm chair/keyboard analyst. I could go on but I'll stop here so that this post doesn't become a mini Constitutional Law class:-)

I sum, Kenya needs a parliamentary system through which the powers of the Presidency will be checked. I think the legislature should also be truly separated from the Executive. I imagine a lot of unworthy politicians will not be as excited about becoming a member of parliament if they can't get to hog two salaries i.e. MP, Assistant Minister/MP, Minister.

N/B: Thanks to all participants who bring rich, reasoned arguments to this forum. Kudos to Wanjiku of Mombasa and Co. Phil too - greatly appreciate the work you do.

Anonymous said...

anon 12:42, you make me sick. You are so irresponsible, it hurts. It's good I'll never meet you on a personal level otherwise...perish the thought.

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