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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Kumekucha Forecasts for 2008

The question on everybody’s mind is when will the current crisis end?

My answer: Not quickly enough. As you read this my firm belief is that the peace of Kenya is now out of the hands of the two major protagonists, namely the MP for Othaya Hon Mwai Kibaki and the MP for Langata Hon Raila Odinga. PNU are nervously cheering on Mungiki and ODM are nervously cheering on the Kalenjin, Luo and Luhya militia. Both parties hope that these violent groups will help them achieve their objectives. What they don’t seem to realize is that even if they sign an agreement today, ending the current violence will be very difficult. You see the problem with violence is that it begets more violence and it becomes an endless spiral or bottomless pit of violence and more violence. The truth is that negotiations should involve representatives of ordinary Kenyans. Back to answering the question. The violence will drag on for a number of weeks at the very least and for a couple of months at the most. It all depends on how quickly those involved in the negotiations move to address the core underlying issues that are the cause of the violence and were only triggered by what many saw as a stolen election.

To understand the three classes of Kenyans and what they wish for, please read my previous post.

What will happen to the economy?
Finance minister Amos “the stock exchange is not a fish market” Kimunya said with a straight face the other day that the Kenyan economy will hardly feel the effects of the violence if a quick agreement is reached in the ongoing negotiations. He even said that rebuilding and repairing the mess will spur growth.

One does not need to be an economist to realize that this cock and bull story is rubbish. The truth is that the Central bank has been making every effort to shore up the shilling by flooding the market with dollars in a vain attempt to ensure that their well laid plan do not change. But even the Central bank has so many dollars and no more.

Any day now we will see the shilling in a free fall against major foreign currencies like the dollar. I am told that a packet of maize flour is over Kshs 100/- in Malindi. This is just a sign of things to come. But what is even more worrying is the threat of serious hunger. Remember that the houses in the Rift Valley were not the only things that were being set on fire. Acres of maize and other foods were also being set on fire. If it is true that the Rift Valley is the bread basket of the nation, then we know what to expect, don’t we? Remember that even if the peace talks yield fruit quickly, this will help but it will not bring back the burnt food. Brace yourself for a weaker shilling and also to pay very high prices for food.

Read what experts say about the food situation in Kenya

What will happen politically?
Kenyans will end up with the many reforms that they have yearned for including a new constitution. However the sad question that keeps on nagging at me is that how much blood of Kenyans will pay for this? Actually only one man can begin to have any idea when it comes to answering this question. And that’s the MP for Othaya who currently wields the immense powers of the presidency of Kenya.


Daniel Waweru said...

(1) There’s been serious violence, but it remains relatively well-contained, except, perhaps, in the Rift. The numbers of people directly affected are not that large in absolute terms – still under 2% of the population (I’m counting displacements and deaths). Guns are not really a factor yet. None of the militias have shown the ability to project force very far outside friendly territory (although this could change). So, disarming the militias now in the field is doable once a political solution is in place (especially since that may enable foreign help). So long as that solution provides for severe legal penalties for all those found to have incited, paid, or materially supported the militias, the militias can be crushed.

(2) As ever, you’re needlessly pessimistic about the economy. The key sectors are probably tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, and maybe financial services.

Of those, only tourism is seriously in danger. Agriculture is totally recoverable, even in the short term (if people are resettled quickly, and if the imminent food shortage is handled well). Manufacturing has barely been affected. Financial services has seen its bad days, but no one else in the region has anywhere near our depth of expertise, so, again, if there's a political solution soonish, we should regain our lead.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone thought about the re-settling process before quickly assuming that Agriculture will bounce back?

Will they just go back to their homes like Kibaki says and start farming. Greeting their neighbours every morning?

Anonymous said...

I believe manufacturing has been affected since it largely depends on labour and supplies of raw materials. These two factors so far have been seriously affected with transport problems and people being displaced.

Anonymous said...

I believe manufacturing has been affected since it largely depends on labour and supplies of raw materials. These two factors so far have been seriously affected with transport problems and people being displaced.rm

Anonymous said...

@Daniel Waweru, for a minute there I thought you were Dr. Alfred Mutua. How can you claim that under 2% of the population has been affected? Aside from the dead and the displaced, many people have and will lose their jobs, the cost of basic commodities is going up, the economy will be affected (whether you want to acknowledge it or not), and as a result, there will be even more people sliding back into poverty, leading to higher crime. There is already a seed of suspicion and a sharp awareness of tribe, even among the middle class who never noticed it before. I do not need to continue with the list. It's pretty obvious that just because none of your family members died or were displaced doesn't mean you won't feel the effect of this violence, no matter how optimistic you want to be. Your claim that only 2% of the population is affected is empty. Counting the tourism industry alone, I'm sure you can see the scale of disruption.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Daniel Waweru aka PNU Monger..............go to hell and fuck yourself, your mother and all your fellow PNU mongerers! How can a man be so shallow and narrow minded to the level that he claims only 2% of the population have been affected! You are a shallow bitch! i so wish you were among the 2% dead and not displaced!

Borne7981 said...

(1) The violence reported in the media is 2% of actual violence levels meted across the country and we are here talking of physical violence. Unless a town/ locality "erupts" the media tend to shy away and look for "real stories" to write. "None of the militias have shown the ability to project force very far outside friendly territory..." but the effects of the force can and is felt across the country. How many trailers are parked along Mombasa road for fear of crossing through Naivasha/ Nakuru/ Eldoret...? Heard of the looming shortage of commodities (milk, sugar, maize etc) in Nairobi for example because they cant reach there?

(2)Tourism will need at least two years to recover to pre-Dec2007 levels; Agriculture is largely consumer based hence wont really gain from the weakened shilling; Manufacturing depends on available labour to respond to the market forces both of which have been destabilised; Financial Services? In Dec07 the USD was at Ksh59 and four weeks later? Ksh74 Na bado!

...IF people are resettled quickly, and if the imminent food shortage is handled well... there is a political solution soonish. That is a very big IF !

Prousette said...

I am hopeful that Kenya will come out of this soon, especially the violence bit because violence as has been said before begets violence and there is no telling when "as relatively contained as it is" it will get out of hand.

I foresee a long road ahead a very painful time for most of us.

I wonder how the resettling bit would go on too. Do the displaced just show up where they used to live and start arranging the furniture if any was left or putting up a house? It is not so simple. For one there are a large number of those who would never go back even if the govt paid them to do so. And they are right because as anon @3.45 how will you relate to the people who burnt your house/farm/ killed members of your family. How???? It is not THAT simple.

I take the figures given by the govt with a big pinch of salt. There are those who have died as an indirect result of the violence and will continue to do so. Those who could not get to hospital etc especially children.
The figures that keep reducing from 258,000 IDPs to 219,000 as bandied about what happened to the IDPs? Did they get new houses, were resettled or what?

Anonymous said...

The truth is, Kenya needs God now more than ever. Please lets pray for our country.

One thing that amazes me though, and that people seem not to pay much attention to is that, when we were born we came with nothing and when we die we'll be burried without any wealth. Can our leaders (i wonder who they are leading given the state of affairs in the country today), especially those clinging to power by force, pose and think about this. Is that how they'd want to be remembered? Can those other kenyans on a killing spree also re-assess themselves. one thing we all have in common is that we'll all die some day, the transition from life to death being the only variation. Everytime I see someone lying lifeless my heart feels a pain I never new was possible. Hon. Mwai Kibaki, should God call you tonight, what account will you give before Him. He entrusted this country to you for the past five years, and you took care of his people then, why destroy all that in just a few weeks? If you have no respect/regard for human beings, atleast show some reverence for God. For once stop listening to your lieutenants, search within the depths of your heart and listen to that still,small voice, the voice of God. please let this madness stop.

Anonymous said...

Waweru is indeed the unofficial Mutua. What happens when an IDP in Kakamega openly tell his former hosts that they can only sell white ants and omena in the shops the IDPs have left. Trust me this made things nasty that he cannot venture out anymore. Do some people believ that they are the only ones who can sell Unga ngano. Such statements only fuel anomosity considering that in Kakamega they have been opening shops and atttempting to do biz. Pity heh! This is the Waweru type of person. Read between the lines men!! The economy is down. People like Kimunya are only cash minded and nothing less. One would rather weigh the situ first than only think of how to make money. Believe me you cant make do biz with corpses. Kimunya should wake up.

Ramantosh said...

A brief glance at the posts in Kenyan blogs leaves one with a bitter test in the mouth.

Now i don't care for PNU or ODM, they all can as well go to hell. What I care for is the time we are wasting here trying to second-guess the damn politicians while throwing disguised ethnic slurs to the few coolheaded Kenyans remaining.

The inability of Kenyans to see the wider picture is saddening. The lack of details as to our recovery plan is glaring.

We Kenyans suffer from what is known as 'magical thinking' (we imagine Utopia but have no clue how to make it reality) Patience my fellow Kenyans is our biggest depravity. One thing is for sure this is the 21st century and the world moves on as we play our village politics.

Anonymous said...

Mr Daniel Waweru is actually right...if you take Kenya's approximate population of 35M and take 2% of that it actually comes close to the total amount of people displaced and murdered. The astounding effects we see in Kenya today are the ripple effects of the ethnic cleansing/genocide that was attempted, in that we all have been affected and we all know friends and relative who have suffered the violence. We need to follow the facts through historical perspectives and try and understand or come to terms with the current situation. Let me say that first of all i'm a Kenyan and second of all a proud African but some of our brethren bring us to shame and condemnation. I have been heartbroken by the images i have seen from Kenya and i too have cried out for blood and vengence...but where is the justice in that? We must set a precedence in our country that acts of incitement and genocide will never be tolerated regardless of the circumstances. I believe that human life and well being supercede the interest of a few...who shall cry for all those brutally murdered and oppressed? God? yet hasn't he given us the power and understanding to be our brothers keeper? Justice has to be served swiftly and with a finality that will transcend this generation. I personally hold ODM and its manifesto responsible for the destruction of Kenya...but hey! thats one mans opinion. I think it ill concieved for a party to peg its ascent to power on the ostrasization of a certain community. How do you manipulate the peoples hunger and percieved oppression and turn into a vile hatred as such as can only be found in Nazi Germany during the "final solution". Question is was Raila Amolo Odinga and ODM looking for a "final solution" in regard to the Kikuyu? Why do they shake in their boots when anyone mentions genocide...and the fact that investigations will surely follow? Is there something they're hiding? Only a fools errand would fail to see what the ODM euphoria was all about..maginalisation and elimination of the enemy namely the Kikuyu. Forget all that crap about change and the utopia that ODM was going to bring to were all a part a chess game and the election was ODMs check mate. "It is our turn to eat, they have eaten for too long and they are the enemy" thats all it was all about. Here is another one mans opinion...if i were Kibaki, Raila and Ruto would be mapquesting a way out of hell because thats where they would be. Well, most of you think that would be the end of Kenya albeit without taking facts into consideration but hey! a nation cannot perish because of the whims of a madman thats the way i see it. Chop off the head of the dragon and peace will come to Kenya...enough of this crap already. offcourse after a few months of Marshal Law. Those who don't like it can go jump in the lake and while they're at it tie a nice big 9 by 9 around their necks as far as i'm concerned. The reason why there is a government is to ensure that the murderers and thieves in ODM don't send Kenya to hell where they're from. And you can take that to the bank!...since ya'll are not going to equity can take it to KCB.

Anonymous said...

anon above is one of the jenyans that need to be humbled so that kenya can move on. Rich people have to start having a heart for the poor and Kikuyus should start thinking of themselves as Kenyans First then Kikyus second, otherwise the rich may be fought out of the land by the desperate poor or the kikyus may be forced to have their own mt kenya republic if they don't let go of their superiority complex.

Anonymous said...

Cant believe the comments am seeing. Am sure some simply jumped at Waweru simply because he is Kikuyu. Shameless tribalists. If you had cared to read between the lines you would have noticed that the 2% Waweru is referring to only concerns the people displaced and dead! Lets all be sober and stop being such tribal mongers. As a Kenyan of mixed heritage I feel so ashamed at the levels we have descended. PROUD KENYAN


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