High Drama: ODM Now Changes Its’ Mind About Safaricom IPO
Raila And Kibaki No Longer Smiling As Coalition Cabinet Remains In Limbo
Even before the celebrations of peace are over trouble is looming large in the horizon. Insiders had informed me that the grand coalition government would be announced as early as this last Easter weekend Saturday and catch everybody by surprise.
Those spreading this story had assumed that the principals President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister designate Raila Odinga would quickly agree. It was not to be.
Today After what reliable sources say was a stormy meeting that lasted from 11 am to about 2 pm Raila Odinga and Preasident Mwai Kibaki for the first time did not emerge together and neither were they smiling. It was clear that all was not well.
A further indicator of trouble was that some ODM people leaked some details of what had gone on inside Harambee house today. A clear sign that this coalition marriage is in trouble even before it has been consummated.
It is now dawning on Kenyans that the powers that be do not have a reform agenda government in mind. PNU wants no less than 44 cabinet ministers; 23 from PNU and 21 from ODM. ODM are suggesting 34 ministries which is not any better. Actually the grand coalition government should not have more than 20 cabinet portfolios.
One of the new ministries being suggested by PNU for ODMers is a ministry of Nairobi affairs. Amongst other extremely hilarious portfolios that will have the rest of the world laughing at Kenyans for weeks on end.
Actually what has happened is that PNU are insisting on keeping ALL the ministries that they already have.
And in reaction it seems that ODM have moved extremely fast. The dormant-for-weeks Prof Anyang Nyongo immediately called a press conference and announced that ODM are now NOT supporting the Safaricom IPO due to be launched in two days. They have recommended that it be put on hold, until it can be fully discussed. Quite an about turn from just a week ago when Finance Minister Amos Kimunya assured the public that ODM leader Raila Odinga was in full support of the IPO.
So it now seems we are almost back to the familiar situation of a deadlock between PNU and ODM once again.
One thing that has not yet sunk into the heads of the political class and wil cost them dearly in the weeks and months to come, is the fact that the country has changed fundamentally since last year’s general elections. For starters the public are scrutinizing their leaders and what they are doing much more closely than they ever have. A case in point is the Safaricom IPO which is being pushed forward at breakneck high speed even as various quarters rub their hands in glee and lick their lips waiting to reap a huge sum of cash from this historical IPO.
They seem completely oblivious of the fact that 132,000 shareholders who brought their shares in NSE listed companies through the collapsed Nyagah Stock brokers are distressed and asking lots of questions about the NSE operations. It has emerged that Nyagah Stock brokers were already technically insolvent at the end of 2006. So the question is why did the NSE allow them to continue operating and why did the Capital market Authority look the other way?
But there’s more. Some reliable sources indicate that auditors have found the firm to be indebted to the tune of over Kshs 800 million. Yep, approaching Kshs 1 billion.
It is increasingly clear that there is a very foul smell emanating from the NSE and more so from the proposed Safaricom IPO. The NSE is a closed club where a few rich people use the general public to make huge profits using their special privileged position that allows them access to insider information not to mention the manipulation of shares.
Can you imagine a soccer league where the owners of clubs manage the league and are also referees in matches involving their own teams? That is exactly what the NSE is.
If you cast your mind to last year when the Finance minister Amos Kimunya was telling Raila that the stock exchange is not a fish market, you will quickly realize that the problem was that Raila had touched what is almost considered to be a private members club. And even before that NSE chairman Jimnah Mbaru who also owns a stock brokerage firm of his own had told some amused lunch guests at a city hotel that ODM’s popularity would impact negatively on the NSE.
The truth my fellow Kenyans is that there are some games being played at the NSE and one of the reasons why the elections had to be stolen had everything to do with the Safaricom IPO.
It seems that ODM leader Raila Odinga was not quite the push over some people within PNU thought and the next few days should be very interesting. It will be fascinating to see what happens in this high drama. The only sad thing is that the tension is creeping back.