Blog Archive

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Land Theft - The Kibaki Years

Well... it seems that little has changed since jomo 'I love stealing land' kenyatta's & dan ' I am a thief' moi's days...

Land allocated to the Lady Northey Home Registered Trustees is in the process of being grabbed. In all fairness, the grab started before kibz became prez but the theft needs to be stopped. kibz needs to ensure that his last 4 years show a commitment to cutting down corruption...

I would like to see the best use for the land BUT not the current spate of thievery. Where is Orengo?

I note that any land 'donated' to the City Council of Nairobi is bound to be grabbed. Remember the Jeevanjee Gardens? If not for the valiant efforts of Mr. Jeevanjee's granddaughter among other do-gooders, we would have some ugly shopping mall belonging to a bunch of crooked former councillors!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How the Kenyan government sabotages success at KQ

I have blogged extensively on the Government of Kenya's apathy to one of Kenya's largest (direct & indirect) employers... Tourism...

Today is an example of a long-suffering firm (Kenya Airways - KQ) that has to deal with the idiocy that is the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA)...

KAA - headed by uhuru kenyatta's uncle as nepotism is rampant - has mismanaged the Nairobi International Airport (NBO). It is old, dark, humid & dank compared to many other airports around the world.

Emirates Airlines has a new terminal in Dubai. Ongoing attempts by the Dubai government to encourage their local airline compete better in the tough airline world.

Qatar Air has also benefited from a government that has invested in expanding the Doha airport to support QA's rapid growth.

KAA has done jack shit in helping KQ expand.
- A 1970s airport without being updated for the 2000s,
- Insufficient parking for passengers
- Poor customer service.
- High charges but little service
- A poorly lit & pothole filled road to/from the airport
- Poorly manned immigration desk for foreigners requiring PAID visas (a fellow traveller complained it took him an hour to get a visa
- Poor lounge facilities. Hard chairs and even then too few of them.

It happens that KQ has made Nairobi an eviable hub in Africa but to keep their competitive edge KQ needs a larger airport. Perhaps their own terminal! Otherwise KQ will lose out to an emerging Entebbe or Addis Ababa).

Many African airports (e.g. Entebbe, Jo'burg, etc) have apron buses provided by the airport autority but KQ had to buy their own since KAA is too busy hiring lousy personnel!!!

KQ is responsible for bringing in lots of higher-spending tourists as well as facilitating trade for Kenyan firms. These remain a lifeline for Kenya & the GoK should be helping KQ not impeding them!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Is Kenya headed for a recession?

Will Kenya slip into a recession in 2009?

Let's just define recession as a contraction in REAL terms of the economy...

Tea prices had climbed but with the current financial problems facing Pakistan & UK... among the largest buyers of Kenyan tea, there has been a substantial drop in prices & volumes.

Tourism is likely to fall off as the financial crisis affects the travelers especially the budget travelers using credit cards.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A fox guarding the hen-house

The so-called Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) appoints a STATE-OWNED CHINESE FIRM to pre-verify goods coming in from China.

After recent scares about toothpastes deliberately laced with DEG & milk deliberately powder tainted by melamine... the idiots at KEBS chooses a fox (CCIC) to guard the henhouse (Kenyan consumers).

The chinese manufacturers happily export sub-standard products to the USA - with a somewhat vigilant FDA - let alone developing countries with non-existent labs!

I have argued that Kenya shouldn't import food products from china in view of the poor quality & lack of morals!

So I wonder what the chinese have paid the officials at KEBS....

What do you think?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

JKIA is a dump...

Does the government care? (Rhetorical question...)

JKIA is:

toilets stink
floor is uneven

The road to JKIA is narrow, pockmarked... where are the Chinese contractors?

The poor experience starts with the idiotic cop who is interested in your insurance sticker rather than if you are a terrorist. Am I going to carry a gun or RPG in plain sight?

The drop-off area is blocked...

There is only one scanner on thus a long line...

Check-in is pleasant (but this is handled by KQ among other airlines)

Immigration asks me a stupid question about my passport... Told him I got it as is from the powers-that-be... Threatens to cause me trouble... tell him to FO (well, politely...)

At least our duty free shops are 1/2 way decent vs other African (yes, I am going for the low bar here) airports...

Sigh... the waiting area can't match Entebbe... at least KQ has updated screens showing the flights. Well, so does KAA but no-one at the help desk. BTW, it is prime time... but the KAA employee if off... I only seen an employee behind a help-desk once in the past year!

There is NO working socket here... Using up my precious battery power to blog!

Can't wait to get on the flight.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Why Kenya continues to lag...

While California wants to cut down on 'paid holidays' i.e. the days you get paid for but you do not work... Kenya goes down the path of silly holidays like "Obama Day"...

BO did not take the day off... he was working even harder after this election!

Vision 2030 anyone?

Or a large part of the current crop of politicians will probably be dead by 2030 so what do they care?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Nairobbery - Yes, we are back!

Ahhh... the Nairobbery we all know so well... and the police?

Complicit? Yes, according to Tim Muriuki of NCBDA
Incompetent? Yes.
Corrupt? Yes.

Vision 2030 - Kenya plans to be the world's gangster exchange... Gotham move over!

Does the government realize that tourism is on shaky ground & such incidents will only scare the tourists away from Nairobi?

Being an entrepreneur is tough at the best of times. I am not surprised that many folks don't want to bother starting businesses in Kenya unless its mere trading or the 'briefcase' bunch.

BTW, the latest robbery took place 800 metres from (Un)Vigilance House... the seat of the Kenya Police. So would you go shopping for substantial items in the CBD?

NCBDA Complaint

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Why do we import food from China?

Tanzania imported melamine-laced milk & milk products. I would not be surprised if some Kenyan firms unwittingly did the same.

The chinese on the other hand have been lobbying African governments not to 'penalize' chinese milk imports! The chinese trade representative in Kenya issued a statement indicating that Kenya should not ban chinese milk products. Sure that's his job but are we fools?

Why do we need to import so many food products?
Why not have:
Weetabix not Kellogg's Cornflakes?
local Cadbury's not Lindt's/Hersheys/imported chocs?
local Minute Maid not Ceres/imported brands?
EABL products not Heineken/Castle (brewed in TZ & S.Africa)?
local sodas not same brands from middle east?

I have consistently argued that Kenyan (& African) consumers have a warped sense of consumerism regarding food products. We 'idolize' imported foods. Some local firms need to be do better & we have to hammer them on quality BUT the obsession with imports?

Go to any Nakumatt & it seems 50% of the food products are imported!!!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

alfie 'foot-in-mouth' mutua calls Obama ignorant

Yes... alfie the brown-noser told off the then Senator Obama on his visit to Kenya in 2006... and now alfie backed his boss' call for a public holiday to celebrate the same Senator Obama's victory...

It's going to be a hoot when ratega ogego (Kenya's ambassador to the USA) has to meet Prez Obama!

Ogego said to Obama "You deliberately, without real cause or reason, other than what appears to seek cheap publicity and inconsequential populism, chose to publicly attack the democratically elected Government of Kenya, in total disregard for the requisite protocol and acceptable methods to address the issues you raised, what with programmed appointments to meet Cabinet ministers and even the Head of State, since your visit was official,"

And mr. ogego... did your boss wake up one morning & declare a holiday for Obama? Could it have been for "cheap publicity and inconsequential populism"?

More articles on alfie's gaffes or simply doing his masters' bidding...

Big Governments & Corruption - Bedfellows

Millers who approach the NCPB are told there is no maize. Even official complaints are swatted aside. BUT the NCPB sells maize to 'brokers' who sell to the millers at 26% markup. So...

- Who are these brokers?
- Why is the government competing with the private sector in procuring maize?

Regulation is one thing but the involvement of government in (direct) commerce is the road to ruin. And consumers have to pay the price.

Shouldn't the government spend money on improving the roads in the North Rift rather than buying maize from farmers? It's a rhetorical question because the latter allows for quick & easy corruption!

- Underweight bags of maize are purchased by NPCB
- Low quality maize is purchased by NPCB
- Maize is sold at a loss to 'favored' entities & persons by NPCB

Private millers would go out of business if they did the above!

Then the demolitions along Thika Road. Why were the officials in the Nairobi Crooked Council & Ministry of Landlessness not arrested & thrown in jail for allocating & allowing construction on road reserves?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Kenyan 'business' reporting - Pathetic or Worse?

Kenyan newspapers need to hire reporters who have a better understanding of ECONOMICS, FINANCE & BUSINESS.

An article by Wshington Gikunju titled "Foreign currency reserves slip below minimum" makes little sense!

I quote "The worsening of import cover position means that Kenya, a net importer, may face commodity shortages as importers struggle to obtain dollars to clear outstanding import bills."

There is no 'struggle' to obtain dollars. It's simply a question of paying for KShs for the US$. Furthermore, Kenya also imports from other countries e.g. Japan, Korea & the UK which can be paid in their own currencies & may have depreciated vs the US$.

Kenya has been importing foodstuffs among other non-essentials. These imports will be pricier thus benefiting local producers. Why do we import cereal (Weetabix is pretty good), eggs (crazy!), milk products like butter & cheese?

Fewer bags of grapes, apples & lychees isn't going to cause Kenyans much harm!

Fewer bottles of imported liquor, wine and beer will be good for KWAL, EABL & Keroche.

I quote "CBK could also be forced to limit its supply of dollars to the priority sectors of the economy such as oil, food and medicine importers. "

Huh? Did the guy say food? Except for wheat... there are few 'essential' foods that Kenya needs to import! Anyway, we should be encouraging production of sorghum & millet. Yes, these are much better 'foods' than wheat or maize.

Furthermore, in the long-term Kenyan importers will only import what Kenyans can afford. After all... they are businessmen...

As much as I shake my head at the silliness of importing cereals & eggs... at some point these will be too expensive to import & Kenyans will turn to local products.

I think Nation needs to hire someone with some sense of economics to review what these 'journalists' put out... Some of these comments/opinions create a sense of panic even though there is no need to be overly concerned!

BTW... in typical Kenyan style... when someone becomes 'powerful' the sycophancy starts! So Kogelo, a back water village will soon have electricity, piped water & adequate security!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Obama Day? Stupid or merely Silly?

I don't get it & neither do many Kenyans.

Yes, Kenyans are proud that Barack Obama won the elections BUT he is an AMERICAN. Through & through. As for the vaunted Kenyan connection... it turns out his Kenyan father had little to do with raising Barack Obama. Kudos to his BO's Mother & maternal grandparents.

Obama the father abandoned Obama the son when BO was 1 month old... So Barack was NEVER a "Kenyan" in any sense of the word. He was not born in Kenya, not raised in Kenya, not a Kenyan resident nor a Kenyan citizen.

Congrats to Obama for the victory BUT why has kibz declared a holiday to celebrate Obama's win?
What of the loss of productivity for the typical mwananchi without a cushy government job?
kibz & roocy get paid whether they work or not. Not most Kenyans.

Election day in the USA was a working day for most Americans. There are no official holidays for any of the post-election days. So if the USA marks the historic occasion with a 'working day' why do Kenyans have a 'holiday'?

Who will pay the 1,000s of casual workers who only get paid if & when they work?
Who will pay for the loss of interest income for those whose cheques take 1 business day longer to clear?
Who will pay for the lost business deals/opportunities?
Who will compensate the farmer who delivers his produce but finds the markets are closed?
Who will compensate the businesses that rely on workers patronage e.g. food sellers in the CBD?

We have kenyatta day, moi day & now Obama day? As is, we do not need a krooked wa ngengi day nor a dan 'stealing galore' moi day!

Let Kenyans celebrate Obama's victory BUT not at the expense of their livelihood!

Other views:
Startups in Kenya

Monday, November 03, 2008

Return of Big Government?

I am wary of National Oil Corporation of Kenya.

1) Does it receive subsidies from GoK? If yes, how much?
2) Does it receive favourable treatment from KRA?
3) How are its activities funded?

The problem is that any government 'support' costs taxpayers even more.
  • Subsidies means higher taxes on those who pay taxes (MPs excluded).
  • Favored tax status means the other taxpayers are disadvantaged.
  • Capital put into NOCK means other areas are starved OR the funds are borrowed from the money markets.
The government should encourage competition NOT get into the business. NOCK should be sold off to the public & let it compete with Total, Kenol & the rest!

Strenghten regulation and quality controls. Which firm imported the low-quality LPG?

Various taxes on petroleum products should be reduced or eliminated. Or encourage public transport by offering 'free market' incentives e.g. lower taxes on buses & mini-vans.

Government 'support' will encourage cronyism, corruption & inefficiencies!

** Good news: Political clout on the decline. KCB sold off a farm that kenyatta had stolen. They had borrowed money using the farm as collateral & KCB foreclosed on it. Considering (not yet) uhuru is Deputy PM, this is great since other politicians will be running scared!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Nairobi City Council - Bouquets & Barbs

Bouquet - Increased burial fees. We need fewer burials & more cremations. Of course, murders can't be solved if the bodies are cremated BUT that only happens on CSI. In Kenya, 'investigations' are a joke. What was the idiot's name who claimed Robert Ouko 'killed' himself then set himself on fire?

Barb - Why would you raise the fees for LOADING BAYS from 60,000/- to 100,000/- in Nairobi?
Many world-class cities want businesses to open/remain in their downtowns e.g. New York, London, Chicago, etc... the idiots at the Nairobi City Council want to drive these businesses out! These businesses keep residents downtown longer & create vibrancy.
Higher costs of the various licenses will either push these businesses out by encouraging hawkers who pay no fees or charges! Violent & armed robberies are on the rise & the police as usual consider these as 'normal'.

Barb - Why doesn't the NCC get rid of the death traps - 14-seater Nissan matatus? I would post photos but I don't want my phone or camera being snatched!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Kenya - No rule of Law

What a waste!

The Nakumatt store among other buildings were bulldozed by the 'government'. I know there were cases pending but the impunity is horrendous.

Nakumatt had the property on lease - they do not own property - but seemed unaware of the operation. At the minimum, they would have emptied the store. The landlords say they never received the summons. Anyway, expect a lot of lawsuits back & forth. Or was this a case of the law gone amok?

(The demolishers may be right but the waste of food when Kenyans are starving. The sheer waste of equipment/utensils/beds, etc when Kenyan hospitals go without... It just galls me!)

How on earth did they get to build these structures on road reserves?

The Kenol petrol station had 26,000 litres of petrol. Yes, a spark and kaboom. Well, if I were the owner & you screwed with me, I would have probably lit a match and walked away... and helped lots of looters on their journey... upwards...

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