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Friday, July 01, 2011

Tough Executive Decisions That Have Led Kenya to the Brink

Last warning: prepare for the worst like you never imagined in your worst nightmares
Every leader is faced with those terrible, terrible decisions. The more powerful your leadership position the more terrible the decisions you will have to make. I am talking about the kind of decisions where you toss a coin and if it is heads people die and if it is tails more people die. If you choose not to toss the coin then it is even worse because you postpone catastrophe.

Faced with this kind of terrible decision early in his administration, our dear president true to form chose the third option as he has done many times before. The result is that even if you don’t know it yet (just like many Kenyans) we are on the brink of unprecedented economic troubles.

You will remember that shortly after being sworn in on that most memorable day in December 2002 President Mwai Kibaki made his first speech where he emphasized that the new government would have zero tolerance to corruption. Looking back today those words ring hallow and empty because there are those who say that corruption has increased rather than decreased under Mwai Kibaki’s administration.

In retrospect it is now clear as day that the president had very good intentions at heart but one of his major shortfalls was his managerial weakness of failing to make critical decisions with the speed they deserve.

Try and empathize with his position as you read the following scenario. Those hundreds of wannabes who regularly get off imagining themselves in State house as president of the republic of Kenya please pay special attention and make a decision to withdraw your candidature. Quit dreaming only of the gardens of State house without taking into consideration the extremely tough decision-making side of high office.

Imagine the following scenario for a minute. That you are the president of Kenya and you are having a meeting with your advisors one morning. You have come to the meeting with some enthusiastic proposals to round up all the drug kingpins whom you know very well (everybody in the political class has known them for years) and you also want to shut down Eastleigh because you know that most of the cash from piracy off the Somali coast and beyond ends up there.

But your advisors tell you things that cause you to apply emergency brakes to your enthusiasm. If you move against drug lords in the country you will be sure to cut your own “political feet” because these are the people who oil politics in Kenya and you Mr President are no exception. Secondly the repercussions to the economy will be colossal. Cash from the evil trade props up the Kenyan shilling and indeed the entire Kenyan economy. If the hard drugs traffic is interfered with, you promptly interfere with the Kenyan economy and those who will be worst hit will be the common wananchi.

And before you recover another of your advisors gets up with statistics showing you the disaster that will befall the nation’s economy if you dare move against Eastliegh and the cash flowing there from piracy in the high seas.

If you are a good manager who makes decisions quickly chances are that you will opt to do nothing. If you are Barrack Obama you will think outside the box and create a third option that nobody ever thought of before. Chances are that it will be quite controversial but at least it will buy you political time and at least it will be a decision. But if you are Mwai Kibaki you will do the most dangerous thing of all. You will make no decision.

That is exactly what happened in 2003 and tragically that indecision has caught up with us after a chain of events has quickly brought us to the current circumstances. I want to keep this post as short as possible so the chain of events that have led us to today will be the subject of a future post.

The current situation is that the Americans are on the war path against the drug trade and are determined to shut down one of the busiest transit cities in the world, namely Nairobi. How do you kill a snake? According to the government policy in Kenya currently you start by hitting the tail of the snake as hard as you can and you follow this up by concentrating all your efforts on the tail of the snake (KACA tactics). But the decisive Americans have a different approach they go straight for the head and if the snake had a jugular that is exactly where they would hit with pinpoint precision. And that is why the two names of Kenyans were released by the Obama administration. The effect has been phenomenal. For all intents and purposes the drug trafficking business in Kenya and the region will never be the same again.

But what many people are yet to do is link this recent happening to the catastrophe that is unfolding on the economic front. It started with the shilling going on a free-fall. As I write this it has sunk to it’s lowest point in history at one point exchanging at Kshs 91 to the green buck.

After weeks of shocked confusion, the Central bank finally decided to react. What they did was predictable; yesterday they raised the benchmark CBR (Central Bank rates from 6.25 per cent to 8 per cent. What this means is that the rates across the board will increase… dramatically.

Historically this has been the only avenue Kenya has followed to tame inflation. This time it is clearly the wrong approach at the wrong time. Most experts agree that what the drastic increase of rates will do will be to choke the economy and dramatically slow down what little speed is still there going forward. If businesses find it increasingly hard to borrow they will lay off people for sure and those already using borrowed money whose cost has suddenly shot up will pass on the cost to the consumer for sure, raising prices further. But the really tragic thing here is that all this would not have happened at a worse time when famine is spreading across Kenya and prices of the staple maize crop has reached where it has never treaded before in the history of the nation.

Moral of this post: Had we made the decision to do the house cleaning way back in 2003, we would not be in the deep hole we find ourselves in today. Do not imagine for a minute that I am saying I would have done better than Mwai Kibaki did. Hell NO. What I am saying is that the executive job is one that comes with numerous terrible decisions that make you lose hair and age quicker than anything else can age you in this world. Those who are eager to be president really, really need to chew on that… and withdraw their silly pipe-dream ambitions. If you have been MP for 20 years and your constituents still have serious water problems, sir with all due respect this office is NOT for you. Go sort out the water problems first.

Understanding Kamlesh Patni’s Goldenberg Scandal


Anonymous said...

Chris is this the BLOCK BUSTER!!! you have been working on?

Grade E once again for lack of creativity.

KK Wild Wild West Adherent!!!!

Anonymous said...

The truth hurts; that's how you know it's truth. Talking about Nairobi being one of the busiest transit cities for the world wide drug trade.

The one time "City in Sun" has now graduated into an infamous center and transit corridor for illegal drug trade.

Not very long ago, it was the Europeans, Nigerians, Pakistani and other west Africans who ran the show in Nairobi through JKIA and at the port of Mombasa.

Now there are Kenyans (Nairobi Cartel, Mombasa Cartel, Malindi Cartel and Eastleigh Cartel) former foot soldiers and couriers who are now become part of the heavyweights and cartels in the world of illegal drug trading around the globe.

According to some middle men in the mix of things, it is estimated that over fifty million Kenyan shillings exchange hands on a monthly basis in the form of briberies.

Wonder why the shilling is now free falling?

Anonymous said...

nice post Chris, ignore the likes of anon 4:12

Drug trafficking is a controversial subject anywhere in the world. Even the Americans who are now breathing down our neck have their their hands full dealing with more than their fair share of battling internal drug trade taking place within their borders. What distinguishes them from us is the seriousness and professionalism with which they tackle the menace that threatens the very fabric of a society

However Chris i don't think we are out of solutions as Kenyans when it comes to how to salvage our economy
minus illegal drug trafficking money and blood pirate money. Basically what i'm saying is if our economy goes belly up then its simply because we refused to as you said
".....think outside the box and create a third option that nobody ever thought of before......"
in particular it will be because come next year 2012 we will repeat the same mistake of automatically re-electing the same MPs we have now, but this time as senators, governors and cabinet secretaries.

The onus is upon us as Kenyans to "think outside the box" and refuse to hand the 11th parliament a free pass into the 12th parliament/1st senate/1st new cabinet under the new constitution/1st new parliament under the new constitution. But are we up to the task?

Anonymous said...

Vintage KK. Who was that who coined the trinity mantra of FRAUD, DECEIT and THEFT? Well the chicken are coming home to roast. You were warned against plastering a festering wound. Woe unto thee!

But wait a minute Chris, wapi EVIDENCE? Please provide the govt with the evidence so that they can REDUCE THE POPULATION, read witnesses, LOL.

Anonymous said...

Stop being JEALOUS HM is not a drug lord but a PHARMACIST, get it.

Please smell the coffee and get rich. We don't have drug problems in Kenya, all have is business opportunities. Kazi iendelee.

Anonymous said...

Chris, I give you a C+ on this one, you begun well but you withered away into modesty and dualism. Don't try to please everyone Chris, the Preso is just not cut out to be a leader, I wouldn't chose him to lead a primary school class, he may be intelligent but he doesn't have the guile, the toughness, the courage... He doesn't love the passion for his people... he is just a plain ole colonial relic who is content just to sip a cold white cup and enjoy a bit of golf in the serenity of Muthaiga.

Anonymous said...

Vintage Kumekucha indeed!

This is why I was telling a friend just yesterday that there is no other site like Kumekucha if you really want to know what is going on behind the scenes in Kenya.

The entertaining style is deceptive and the speed reader who does not grasp may think this is shallow writing... Until they realize that Chris has linked the free falling shillinmg to the drugs trade and given us a background so that we understand where it all started. All done very convincingly. Brilliant.

I am very mean with my "A" grades but in this case I have no option but to give Chris a straight "A" for this post.

Don't even talk about the article this post links to that describes the impact of the Goldenberg mega-scandal on the ordinary man all written in simple language that should excite even those who are usually bored to tears by economics.

Chris is a very gifted writer, that you cannot take away from the man.

Kudos and please keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Chris wrote this;
If you have been MP for 20 years and your constituents still have serious water problems, sir with all due respect this office is NOT for you. Go sort out the water problems first.

And I thought about this;

If you have been an MP for almost 20 years and the slum in your constituent has been recording an annual double digit growth and has become a tourist attraction, sir with all due respect this office is NOT for you. Go sort out the slum problems first.

So true...will the real Chris stand up and stand to be counted by seconding this?


the weeklyvision said...

.......But if you are Mwai Kibaki you will do the most dangerous thing of all. You will make no decision.Ilike that, remember just after Mwai Kibaki was sworn in as Presided in 2002/2003 one of his advertisers Matere Keriri told Kenyans that they could not honor the MOU Kibaki had signed with RAO? Well this are some of the fruits we as a country are reaping today, and i am delighted that you have decided to share the sane with us.

Anonymous said...

I like the way you write statements and think since you have a few gullible clueless cheerleaders here and there, they are the gospel truth. Well, let me remove you from cluelessville.

You allege that Kibaki is indecisive. I hold no brief for the old man but I think you missed the boat by a continent. Maybe those 'multilevel marketing fake deals' messed up your cognitive abilities.

Show me a business man who has built business empires worth millions who is at the same time indecisive and I will show you how to cultivate gold in Machakos.

What you fail to understand is that Kibaki is simply indifferent to some of the things that Kumekucha and by extension Kenyans, think are matters of life and death. Thats how KIbaki operates. Its as simple as that. When issues that Kibaki thinks are of priority are involved, the man is as sharp as a razor blade. Even outspoken outgoing American ambassadeur Ranneberger pened that down in his wikileaks at a time when Kumekucha was busy dismissing Kibaki as a sick lame duck.

You really have no clue of Kibaki's personality. You better stick to your women stories....

M. Pesa said...


Picture this (dream this)- that you are the president of this country called Kenya and want to shut all drug routes into this once beautiful nation.

You also want to lock up in Kamiti all the greedy drug lords who supervise speed boats at night delivering hauls of cocaine and heroin from a ship docked way inside the Indian Ocean near Watamu.

Then one fine morning you are seated with your advisors ready for suggestions before flying squad officers round up all these terrible scum killing an entire generation of youth.

Suddenly, one of your handlers stands up politely, clears his throat and says, "But Your Excellency president Chris, you may want first to know your gachungwa (girlfriend) and several of your cabinet ministers who contribute handsomely to your campaigns are deeply involved in this drug business!"

What would you do?

I agree..very difficult job indeed

Anonymous said...

The problem is Kenya and worship for foreigners... that my friends is what has "lead Kenya to the Brink".
You allowed Nigerians to infiltrate Kenya with drugs, now you must pay FULL price.
Nigerians are not wanted in all African countries (I doubt any country wants them) but in Kenya they are welcomed with open hands with a brotherly love * pity*

My question is, when will Kenyans learn??

M. Pesa said...

Anon @ 7.03

Kibaki reminds me of a story about an ancient king. Now this king used to ignore all the complaints from his people. He would just wave them away with his hand and say bure kabisa. He would pile all the letters in one corner of his castle without bothering to read any. All the noise made fell on deaf ears. Then one day, many years later, the king, just out of idleness and for the fun of it decided to open some old letters written decades ago.

He was shocked to see that most of the problems his subjects had raised had disappeared or solved themselves! Bad housing? The houses had collapsed by themselves (just like in Nairobi) people had learnt lessons and build better homes....

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

This is a very vacuous piece of writing. The writer is preoccupied with personalities, gossip, and nonsense. Very Impotent...

Anonymous said...

This is a very vacuous piece of writing.

Like it or hate it, the civil society and patriots among us must continue to denounce Kenya's vacuous, impunity and illegal drug trade-oriented culture and call for a return to the rule of law and order.

Mr./Ms. Vacuous Wananchi, and your dear esteemed colleagues from the defensive isle of Kumekucha, if someone comes up to you and says something really nice, such as "Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Wow!Nairobi is a glowing 'City in the Sun' and a real drugfree zone", they're not probably lying to you and your ilk but they are pulling wool over your already blinded eyes so that they may continue to engage in the destruction of your once magnificent republic of Kenya.

Anyway, for the diehard defenders, supporters, sympathizers, empathizers and most of all past as well as current beneficiaries of the lords of impunity, the Cartel and well connected drug barons and baronesses in the house of parliament, civil service, civil society, business community, corrupt police force/security agencies, schools, colleges, religious institutions and slums [of Nairobi Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kisumu, Nanyuki and other stagnated towns of Kenya], keep up with your warped patriotic songs of denial and well orchestrated acts of burying your collective heads in the sand dunes 24/7.

Those of you who now coming out of the woodworks seem to be sufferers of selective amnesia at a time when Kenya continues to sink deeper into the dark descent of illegal drug trade.

Large segment of the Kenyan population have been oblivious to the fact that Kenyan cities of Nairobi, Mombasa, Malindi and Lamu have been very conduicive nerve centers for drug trafficking, money laudering, extortion, harbouring of international fugitives, kidnappers, murderers, wildlife smugglers, arms trafficking, human trafficking, and some of the designated safe zones ("EZ-DSZ") for pedophilia tourism since the mid 1980s.

Many of these underworld groups would have been infiltrated and taken down by the authorities and resulted in indictments (issued by the DPP of course), arrests, and long term prison sentences for those convicted, if it were not for the current executive disatrous decisions engaged in by the current political leadership in the Republic of Kenya.

We have been a certified Banana Republic, a brothel where everything and anything goes (is sanctioned), for far too long and we must shed the ridiculous image as soon as possible if we want to be in any good standing in the eys of the world community.

Anonymous said...

Kwa kweli hapo zamani kuli kweko punda wengi nchini Kenya katika enzi za ukoloni.

Kwa hivi sasa yaonekana kwamba kuna kondo wengi kote nchini Kenya, na idadi yao bado inaelendelea kuzidi hadi wote watakapo poromoka kwenye shimo kuu la Menengai.

Jameni, tuta endelea kulaumu ukoloni mambo leo au tuta endelea kujikaza kikondo na kuwa shangilia watalaamu, wakurugenzi na meneja wote wa mashirika na kampuni mbalimabli za usafirishaji wa madawa ya kulevya nchini Kenya?

Mwarang'ethe said...

To tell us that, drug money and piracy money cut off is the cause of our economic woes is to lie to us like kids.

The problem with your analysis Chris is this. You look at Kenya as it is, and you imagine you can see what is the cause of the problem.

The question is:

(a) why is Greece in serious economic mess?

(b) why is Latvia, Hungary in serious economic mess?

(c) why is Belarus in serious economic mess?

We also ask:

(a) why did the Byzantine's currency crash in 12th Century?

(b) why did the Rome's currency crush in the 3rd Century after Chris?

(c) in 407 B.C. the Athen's currency crashed, why?

In fact, we may add, the Athen's 407 B.C. currency crash was the FIRST in known history. There are in the same position in 2011.

In the 20th Century alone, we have seen these currencies crush in inflationary spiral:

(a) Austin Krone - 1923.
(b) Russian ruble - 1922.
(c) Germany mark - 1923.
(d) Polish marka - 1923.
(e) Hungarian krone - 1923.
(f) Brazilian real - 1942.
(g) Greek drachma - 1944.

NB: In 2011, Greece is BACK.

(h) Hungarian pengo - 1946.
(i) Romanian leu - 1947.
(j) Chinese YUAN - 1948.
(k) Taiwan yuan - 1949.
(m) Chinese RENMINBI - 1955.
(n) Brazilian cruzeiro - 1967
(o) Chilean escudo - 1973
(p) Argentine peso - 1983

We can others like:

Israel shekel in 1984.
Bolivian peso bolivianos - 1984, etc etc etc.

The simple question is, is/was Kibaki's leadership style, drug money, or piracy money a COMMON factor in all these? No and NO.

In other words, to understand things like economic crash, inflation, depression, you must understand the:


(b) what is CONSTANT in ALL CURRENCY CRISIS since 407 B.C.

Reading thru your essay, you are just trying to get someone to BLAME, or, an ESCAPEGOAT.

The Athenians, Rome, Germans, Byzantinians also, did look for someone to blame. We say this cos we have checked their history. So, it is nothing new what you are doing.

So, we understand you. It is the typical HUMAN behaviour when faced with a serious crisis. Blame, blame, blame someone.

Anonymous said...

Be weary of the IMF's policies including frequent vists from its senior officials even those bearing gifts disguised as austerity measures aka "economic killer policies".

As for the Hellenic Republic, history is repeating itself under the watch of 182nd Prime Minister Georgios A. Papandreau, the son of the 174th & 179th Prime Minster Andreas Papandreau, and the grandson of the 162nd Prime Minister Georgios Papandreau Sr.

Why would the Greeks expect any real changes or new results when they keep on electing figure heads from the same long standing political dynasty?

God forbid that Ondinga Oginga's grandson or Jomo Kenyatta's grandson gets to be elected as Kenya's president!

Political dynasties as well as institutions like IMF do not care about real polical change nor better economic conditions for the lesser countries around the world.

One of the many reasons as to why Greece is in serious economic crisis because the leadership paid no attention to their own ancient creation, the Trojan horse that was introduce to the Greek parliament by the IMF as an offering to emhance and rescue their economy from wobbling further.

Re: Blaming Games, Crying Games, Lamenting Games and Scapegoating in Kenya.

On the one hand, misstep and careless behaviours by several group members of the narcotics trade are to blame for the bad press the industry continues to get.

On the other, Kenya has experienced an economic growth rate of 5.6% per annum which led to a tripling of the GDP since 2002.

The illegal drug trade bubble, the continual rapid consumption of narcotics and other corrupt business activities facilitated by investment motivated to maximize returns before the 2012 general elections.

Many view the government's turning of a blind eye to narcotics entrepreneurship as having a major influence on Kenya's rate of technological progress, savings, accumulation, distribution of income and consequent economic growth.

Anonymous said...

Mh. Harun Mwau mbuge wa Kilemo, yuaendelea kulalamika kwamba yeye hana makosa kabisa kwa yote yale yanayo husika na miradi ya kuangiza na kuingiza madawa ya sio halili nchini Kenya, ila Rais wa Marekani, Barack Hussein Obama, anamuonea bure na kutaka kumuangamiza na kumua bure kwa kutumia kikosi chake malaam kijacho julikana kama Delta Force na ambacho kina makao ya kuduma huko mkuona pwani na mkoa wa kazikazini mwa mashariki. Mh. Harun Mwau yua endelea kushaanga na kuuliza kwamba, ni kwa sababu gani hasa Rais wa Marekani, Barack Hussein Obama haja wahi kuwashamubilia na kuwaua makateli wa madawa yasio halali wanaoishi kwenye majimbo mbali mbali ya taifa la Mexiko? Yafahamika kwamba wote ni jirani wake na maharamia wenye haraam wa kupundukia? Mh. Harum Mwau, haelewi kamwe shughuli rasmi za kalaba hasa katika enzi hizi za kupiga vita vikali madaya ya kulevya kote ulimweguni.

Anonymous said...

Kibaki certainly deserves the blame for the state and condition in which Kenya finds herself today in this year's failed states index; sample this: -

last year 2010 we were ranked the 13th most failed state in the world. This year 2011 we slipped down by 3 places to claim the 16th spot on the same list.

The root cause of such internal failure and by extension external international embarrassment to the point where Kenyans travelling anywhere in this world are specifically targeted for the so called "random security and safety searches" because of their passport is simply because of lack of decisive action over corruption

No one can fault Kibaki for contributing to the economy, infrastructure,constitution, and even helping shape the political landscape after he led the country to the brink of collapse in 2007. but his inaction over corruption is his greatest undoing to date, and will threaten the legacy he was hoping to leave intact with the promulgation of the new constitution and the revival of the East African Community among other contributions attributed to him

As Chris has rightly said "......had we made the decision to do the house cleaning way back in 2003, we would not be in the deep hole we find ourselves in today........." no matter how much economic growth, roads, free primary education and clean capital cities we have, not dealing with corruption decisively is the same bane of existence that has now blighted the initially promising and potentially budding presidency of Mwai Kibaki.

Anonymous said...

Power men in Kenya at an ENERGY crises meeting

Anonymous said...

LOL! What's the use of having free primary education when so many kids are still attending classes while seated under trees?

Kibaki couldn't clean up the ship nor force the rats to jump ship because he's been of the same corrupt system since the 1960s.

Kenyan voters will keep getting the same old corrupt characters if they keep electing the same old corrupt wazee and their well coached gangs of corrupt young turks.

Anonymous said...

As far as they are concerned, Kenyans travelling abroad are viewed as suspects or potential smugglers until proven otherwise.

The proof is in the pudding, and the number of arrested culprits, ages from 19 yrs to 55 yrs, speaks for itself.

Random security checks and safety searches seem to be working so well to the point where Kenyans are caught so frequnetly and locked abroad after trying to smuggle illegal drugs through many Asian, European and African countries.

Truth be told, there are three European nations that have incarcerated over 100 [HUNDRED] Kenyan drug mules and internal carriers (swallowers) since the mid1990s. Majority are women.

The Kenyan embassy officials in those three nations know the drill to well, whenever they are notified.

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