Monthly Archives: February 2015

Is there a way to avoid adolescence rebellion?



The search for a new governor of the Central Bank of Kenya has started in earnest, ahead of the retirement of Prof Njuguna Ndung’u, whose second and final term expires in a month.

Prof Ndung’u’s tenure at the helm of the bank charged with formulating the country’s financial and monetary policy will come to an end on March 4. This has opened the position for high political lobbying.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to hand-pick the next governor due to the delay in enacting the new Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Bill that would have opened the appointment to a competitive process.

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich told the Nation in an interview that the draft Bill was yet to be approved by the Cabinet, and therefore, had not been tabled in Parliament yet.

“The Bill will be presented in Parliament when it resumes. But there is no lacuna, we will proceed with what is existing,” he said.


The fact that Parliament is on recess until mid-February means that the appointment will be made under the current law, which gives the President the power to hire a candidate of his choice.

Sources said the position has attracted huge interest from some of Kenya’s top economists.

Among those mentioned in the race to succeed Prof Ndung’u is Dr Mbui Wagacha, who has been acting as the CBK chairman since February 2013, when legislative changes were made to the Central Bank of Kenya Act.

Dr Wagacha is a renowned macroeconomist and policy expert with experience spanning over 20 years, having consulted for the Association of African Central Banks, the World Bank and the African Development Bank, among others.

The current deputy governor, Dr Haron Sirma, is also a possible candidate. Dr Sirma, also an economist, has worked at CBK for about 28 years and was appointed deputy governor in 2011.

Those in the know said that the National Treasury principal secretary, Dr Kamau Thugge, was also a top contender for the highly influential position.

Former PWC Africa board chairman Phillip Kinisu — with over 30 years of experience in financial management — is also mentioned as being in the frontline to take over when Prof Ndung’u retires.

Trade Mark East Africa country director Chris Kiptoo, and Commercial Bank of Africa Group CEO Isaac Awuondo were also among those named as likely candidates as are Vivienne Yeda Apopo, who has been a non-executive director of the CBK board since 2011 and Sheila Mbijiwe who formerly sat in the CBK Monetary Policy Committee.

The current chairman of the Konza Technopolis Development Authority and director of Investment Banking at Standard Bank Group, John Ngumi, is also a likely candidate.

Others are former CBK deputy governor Edward Sambili and Mwangi Kimenyi of Brookings Institution.

The successful appointee will serve for a single term of six years as opposed to the current regime where one can serve two terms of four years each.


The next governor will also have a lot to learn from Prof Ndung’u, whose stint at the helm of the bank has not been without remarkable incidents, both positive and negative.

Last year, Prof Ndung’u was named the sub-Saharan Africa Central Bank Governor of the Year in recognition of “his stewardship of the Central Bank of Kenya, that has inspired faith and confidence in Central Bank policy among key stakeholders”.

This came barely two years after a survey by Reuters ranked him the worst banker in Africa in December 2011, following the historic deceleration of the shilling when it exchanged at Sh107 to the US dollar.

Prof Ndung’u will be remembered for many things, among them the operationalisation of the Monetary Policy Committee in 2008 and the introduction of the Kenya Bankers Reference Rate last year, both indicative rates upon which commercial banks are expected to price their loans.

Source: Daily Nation


Mugabe is a hero to many, a fact Western media struggle to grasp


So what that President Mugabe is the new African Union chairman? How many people know whom he replaced in that post? The answer, of course, is that virtually nobody does.

The AU chairmanship is a purely ceremonial, rotational post that is held by a head of state from one of the continent’s regions every couple of years.

The position has now attracted so much attention because the new holder is Robert Mugabe, which means the question Thabo Mbeki asked in an important public lecture at the University of South Africa in August 2013 must be repeated.

Why this obsessive focus on Zimbabwe? Why do all the major television networks devote so much air time to Zimbabwe and Mugabe? Why devote acres of space in (mainly UK and US) newspapers to the subject of little Zimbabwe?

The answer, of course, is that Mugabe dared to disturb the status quo in his country which heavily favoured a powerful minority which, in the words of Mbeki, were the “kith and kin” of the decision makers in the major capitals of Europe.

By the time the land redistribution programme began in Zimbabwe, 70 per cent of the productive land in the country was in the hands of the white minority which makes up less than one per cent of the population.

All the armed struggles for independence in the three countries that saw the bitterest opposition to settler colonialism — Algeria, Zimbabwe and Kenya — were about land.


Mugabe, who was jailed for 11 years by Ian Smith’s regime and missed the funeral of his son while locked up, decided to implement land reform from around 2000, against the stern warnings of Tony Blair’s administration.

He may well have done it for self-serving reasons but the programme made him a hero nonetheless in the eyes of many of his people.

As Mbeki pointed out in his speech, land redistribution meant that 300,000-400,000 peasants became land owners, a not inconsiderable number in a country of just over 14 million people.

Mugabe could have been less brutal in carrying out the exercise. But did this attempt to correct historical injustices really merit the crippling sanctions slapped on Zimbabwe?

Belgium, which has been urging the EU to reconsider the restrictions it has imposed on Zimbabwe (because Brussels has a strong interest in the country’s diamonds, naturally), estimates the embargo costs the country $400 million a year.

Yet you never see any of this background, that sanctions are a key driver of the poor economic situation in that country, in Western media analyses.

The most disturbing aspect, according to Mbeki, is the fact that Africans have swallowed unchewed the Western media propaganda on Mugabe “and continue to be enslaved by a narrative about ourselves told by other people”.


There are many questions any analyst of the obsessive coverage of Mugabe should ask. Why Mugabe and not, say, the Equatorial Guinea strongman Obiang Nguema who came to power in a coup in 1979 and keeps his people wallowing in poverty despite their country being one of Africa’s largest oil producers?

Where is the Western media criticism of the DRC’s Joseph Kabila, patron of the world’s richest semi-failed state? The answer, of course, is that the pair and others are good boys who dare not disturb the status quo.

Mugabe has his flaws. But who doesn’t? In the past week the British press has been awash with stories praising Winston Churchill.

It is true he was a war-time hero but he was also a terrible racist who dismissed the Mau Mau as “brutish children” who should be crushed in the most savage manner; described Indians as “a beastly people with a beastly religion”; suggested Gandhi should be trampled upon by an elephant with the British viceroy on its back, and described the Palestinians as “barbaric hoards who ate little but camel dung”.

It was no wonder that the first things President Obama did was to remove the bust of Churchill which had been installed in the Oval Office by George W. Bush.

But then Obama has read his history and does not swallow whole simple narratives such as those woven by the Western media, in whose eyes Mugabe, — whose slip while walking down the steps last week caused such merriment in some quarters — is one of history’s greatest villains.

Source: Daily Nation


Nairobi commuters in for a surprise cashlite Tuesday


The National Road Safety Authority has announced that commuters boarding public service vehicles from Kencom, GPO and Ambassador stages will have to pay using cashlite cards only as from Tuesday.

This means that the buses that pick up at that stage and their passengers will have to arm themselves with the machines and the cards respectfully before the deadline.

This new directive flies in the face of the reality that a good number of commuters are still exclusively using cash to pay fare, as reported in this paper earlier this month.


In acknowledgement of the passengers’ reluctance to adopt new technology, the NTSA has said in its advert that “PSV users are hereby informed that the card providers will be at the above mentioned stages to issue the public with cards at no cost. (They) are further advised that the card providers will be available to assist on the usage of cashlite cards.”

However, even as the NTSA seemingly struggles to make the transition into the new payment system smoother for all stakeholders, the Matau Welfare Association (MWA) feels that the government is pushing the technology down people’s throats.

Even though the association will not be affected by Monday’s deadline since none of its members use the aforementioned stages, MWA feels the government is moving too fast to implement a system that is fraught with weaknesses.


“No efforts have been made to educate the public on the usefulness of the cashlite system or even show them how the cards work. Most Matatus also do not have the till machines that will enable card use, despite many of them paying Sh10,000 for the machines,” said MWA chairman, Mr Dickson Mbugua.

He said that there is a shortage of the till machines which has made it impossible to implement the cashlite system across the country.

“The four banks that are supposed to provide the machines, that is, Equity Bank, Family Bank, Cooperative Bank and Kenya Commercial Bank, have admitted that that they do not have enough of them. So how does the government expect us to comply?” he posed.

Mr Mbugua said that it was for that and related reasons that MWA will be going to court to challenge the government directive that matatus must have the machines installed before they can get their road licenses renewed.

“We will not stand in the way of development because we know that the cashlite system is good and it will help all stakeholders. However, it needs to be rolled out gradually and after all concerns have been addressed, not forced on people,” he said.

Souce: Daily Nation


If we had more people like this, the world will be more beautiful

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