Thursday, November 29, 2007

Safaricom (maybe) coming...

First... SafariCon stays true to its name... truth in advertising is unknown to them... Customer Service is unknown... more later...

Now to their proposed Offer For Sale - not an Initial Public Offering that would raise funds for the firm - that will provide the current gov't with funds.

Rumours have been flying back & forth but the total value of the Offer could run from KShs 35 Billion to 60 Billion. Of this amount, healthy chunk 20-35% may be reserved for "foreign" buyers. My gut feeling is that it will tend towards KShs 60bn with KShs 35bn earmarked for "retail" investors. The balance will go to SafCon employees, dealers, foreign buyers, etc!

I think it is UNFAIR to sell part of SafCon to "foreigners" while Kenyans will be starved of shares. The mantra among the brokers is that Kenyans can't absorb 100% of SafCon. I say that is BULL****. After all it is mainly Kenyans (incl diaspora) & Kenyan residents who contributed to SafCon's success.

Considering the over-subscription for other shares e.g. Kenya Re-insurance & KenGen shows the capacity is there. KenGen raised KShs 27bn vs only KShs 8bn worth of shares offered for sale. All the GOK divestitures were oversubscribed including Mumias, albeit barely.

It is estimated there will be 1,000,000 CDS accounts opened by 24 Dec 2007 - elections be damned coz money beats politics! - & an average application of KShs 35,000 means a 100% subscription rate if the Offer is for KShs 35bn. SafCon has a huge reach all over the country & a low minimum application threshold will open the OFS up to many more Kenyans.

* Hundreds of thousands of Kenyans are prepared for SafCon's OFS with at least 10,000/- saved up.
* Tens of thousands of Kenyans have the "average" of 35,000/- saved up.
* Thousands of Kenyans have more than 100,000/- saved up.
* Hundreds have 10,000,000/- or more - going by Shareholder lists.
* Add the Kenyan Unit Trusts, Insurance Firms, Banks, etc who have 25,000,000/- & more to invest.
* Finally there are the E.African Investors who are treated as "locals". (Erm, unlike the Ugandans, the Tanzanians treat Kenyans as "foreign" investors, why do we allow them - Tanzanians - to participate as locals?)

Therefore, even if we had KShs 60bn worth of shares for sale... they would be sold, nay, over-subscribed if sold at the right "discount" to Kenyans.

I think SafCon should favour Kenyan, then the Ugandans, then E. Africans... before the "foreigners"...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

US Style electioneering is here... (with some violence)

Wow, the Kenyan political scene is heating up...

I do not enjoy politics BUT politics in Kenya has a substantial effect on the economy... thus I am taking a look at the current presidential electioneering...

First, a "banned" campaign video clip/ad on YouTube.
  • Why would the gov't ban the video when the pics/video are in the public domain? (OK, seeing Roocy in PJs in public is not for the faint-hearted!) The internet allows Kenyans to see it anyway... many have the clip on flash disks & e-mails are zipping around...
  • Or is the claim of a ban merely a hoax/marketing strategy by ODM? (Dick Morris at work?
The Domo Domo clips are smart... and subtle... showing the failings of kibaki's govt esp ANGLO-FLEECING.

The PNU clips show "progress" but PNU should be warned that BJP (India) lost the elections - even after 8% annual growth - while their slogan "India Rising" coz the rural voters felt neglected in favour of the Urbanites. PNU is unfairly hurt by "poor economy" perceptions. It is not their fault that oil prices have hit high levels thus an increase in inflation. Furthermore, there has been visible development in many parts of the country. Of course, dan "the idiot" moi screwed up Kenya that there was no way but up!

The anglo-fleecing scandal has scarred kibaki. That is a black eye however you slice & dice it. Why did he tolerate the corruption in his cabinet/government? If not for Anglo-fleecing, kibaki was a shoo-in! Kenyans do like him... kibaki's association with dan "the idiot" moi is unfortunate esp when goldenberg happened during moi's watch. Anglo-fleecing started under moi. Then there is Turkwell & the Mobitelea issue. moi is a thief. Period. He should be prosecuted NOT feted!

ODM can't claim to be the party of "clean" with the myriad crooks they have on board including ruto(yk1992), gumo(times tower land "allocation"), etc! There are many more... I think the crooks on ODM/Raila's bandwagon will hurt him... He should have taken the bull by the horns & refused to co-operate with the crooks! Most ODM politicians served in either moi's or kibaki's government including Raila (albeit not for long).

Second, a 'Dick Morris' hired by ODM. Wow, they are serious considering Dick worked for clinton in 1996. BTW, the clinton administration has the dubious distinction of having the most financial scandals in recent American history e.g. travelgate, whitewater, etc.

Will PNU hire a "spinmeister"? I bet they will!

Third, the placement of posters on cars, buses, pillars, highway dividers, public bathrooms, etc!!! It pisses me off that the cities, towns & countryside are littered with these posters!

Why don't we have public debates on TV & Radio where we can read about issues/policies rather than the ugly posters everywhere?

Billboards - some tasteful - are OK since they are ads which will come down soon esp after elections. The posters are an eyesore.

Fourth, terms such as "kumbafu", "adui", etc dominate the little news we get on TV or Radio. Funerals are political events not for the dead or their families but the politicians.

We need to have PUBLIC DEBATES by the presidential candidates instead of mudslinging all the way! And this leads to violence e.g. Kisii, Kuresoi, etc. Since nyachae is a PNU supporter, he remains free... even after publicly advocating violence. If ODM wins, I think nyachae should be prosecuted for "incitement"...

ODM supporters are not shying away from violence either. When will it end? I fear the Taliban (pro-ODM/Raila) & the Mungiki will clash before the elections with horrendous consequences.

Ali (police commish) is disappointing Kenyans... How can he "ban" the singing of the National Anthem. It is my RIGHT to sing it while taking a crap, showering, hiking or to put kid/s to sleep.
The police are supposed to be non-partisan. Their job is to enforce the law not make laws. Period!

Fifth, tribal politics flare up.
  • Accusations are flying that PNU is a "GEMA" outfit with the Kikuyus leading the way to re-elect one of their own. It is a fair observation because even Uhuru Kenyatta (the supposed "leader of the official opposition" & a Kikuyu) roots for the incumbent!
  • Nevertheless, there are many other supporters of PNU from various other tribes/regions. All is all... I think tribes & tribal politics should be a non-issue. Merit should be the primary factor BUT the reality remains... Kenya is composed not of Kenyans but of tribes.
  • Raila single-handedly controls a HUGE block of the Luo vote regardless of his performance. That is sad.
Sixth, the gov't (PNU-led) is doling out goodies & promises like there is no tomorrow. That is unfair to the opposition & Kenyans. Where was the gov't during the past 5 years? The traffic in Nairobi is horrendous, basic services have no improved substantially & the road network is atrocious. Even economically significant areas like Industrial Area have seen little improvement of the roads.

KAA under george muhoho(hoho) is a joke. KAA is woefully behind schedule in upgrading Nairobi's main airport. The Kisumu airport had to be shut down when the runway was washed away. And the idiots at KAA claimed it was 'safe'...

ODM's "luminaries" have little to show for development:
  • Ngilu's hare-brained "universal healthcare" plan which was simply an over-burdening of Kenya's private sector.
  • Balala did a fine job in Mombasa as mayor.
  • Mudavadi was a competent Finance Minister.
  • william ruto was part of an amorphous corrupt aoutfit known as yk1992 which campaigned for the then thief-in-chief, dan "the idiot" moi.
  • Raila... he was in gov't for too short a time to make a difference but his silly comments about forcing KQ to ferry khat/miraa was uncalled for. KQ is PRIVATE. The GOK owns less than 40% including shares owned by Treasury & NSSF. Let KL M & KQ's board run the airline. Raila should stick to what he (thiks he) knows.
Seventh, opinion polls, opinion polls & more opinion polls...

I could go on & on... I have not made up my mind which way to go... but I am watching closely...

P.S. Kalonzo... now I believe he made a "calculated" mistake in quitting ODM.
  • Was he bribed to quit ODM thus break it up?
  • Is he angling for a powerful coalition position?
  • Will be "quit" the race before elections & defect/support PNU/kibaki?
  • All in all... he might turn out to be the 2nd most powerful politician in Kenya! Or a king-maker...

  1. How will all this election &/or election rhetoric affect the business/economy of Kenya?
  2. What of the NSE?
  3. What of the confidence in Kenyan economy?
  4. What of tourism?
  5. Will inflation jump coz of elections spending & "goodies" dished out?