THE FACELESS FACE OF CRIME – COAST

lamuThe sleepy villages of the Coast normally lucrative destinations for investors and tourists have been turned to a somber ambiance, ram shackled houses, distraught windows and agonizing faces from kids too young to comprehend what is going on. The unprecedented wave of crime can only be compared to the Likoni clashes in 1997 where at least 104 people were killed, hundreds maimed and about 100,000 people displaced. It’s a fairly subtle insecurity situation banked on the controversial land issue as the underbelly, compounded by news of oil deposits in the region. Lamu to be specific has been the epicenter, witnessing close to a 100 deaths majority being males in a period of two months. The deaths have been barbaric, uncouth and most traumatizing for the families left behind when they watch their fathers, uncles and sons slit at the throat and butchered alive or being shot dead at their full glare.

In just under one month two tourists have been shot dead, coincidentally along the same area, a Russian and a German. The situation was so bad that a ‘boda boda’ lad was left with only two options, sleeping in the bush as long as this madness persists or leaving his 5 acres of land to ride all the way to Karatina 900 kilometers away to a 1 acre ancestral land. It was such a sentimental story. Many villages in Lamu county are a conglomerate of many tribes resettled during Mzee Kenyatta’s era. This has been the elephant in the room for a long time. Indigenous communities are perceived to be poorer and most likely landless or living as squatters. But amazingly, during the infamous 2007-08 post – election violence, this region was relatively calm.

Government was quick to lay blame on local political networks keen to eject a specific community. As expected, the statement was received with its fare share of criticism from the opposition terming the government as a reckless agitator, fueling tribal animosity. So did the government put the cart before the horse? Analysing how this attacks took place really puts into doubt how local networks could pose such heinous attacks without a hand from say Al shabaab and their local cells of indoctrinated youths who are exploiting an already volatile situation.

The attacks are seemingly perfect in execution, in what learned friends would term as modus operandi. They seem to be taking a cue from the Gambler song by Kenny Rodgers which goes,..”You’ve got to know when to hold, when to fold, know when to walk away, know when to run….” The attackers understand the terrain so well to an extent of choosing to lay ambush in an area with poor communication reception just to maximize on the number of casualties. The first time they attacked Mpeketoni, nobody thought they would come back the following day. These are the mind games this guys are playing. Just recently they hijacked a bus in the middle of a thick forest, and actually had reinforcements on the look, just in case push went to shove. The situation was saved by police on patrol. Even before the much hyped curfew was imposed by the government, three gunmen opened fire indiscriminately on Sunday night shooting dead three people in Soweto slum in Mombasa and escaped without a trace. Few weeks before, they would emerge from a thicket, pounce on a village, ransack farms and health centers and retreat back to the forest without any arrest being made.

We are indeed dealing with very smart fellows. KDF and the whole contingent of military and police force are making a mistake they have done many a times of ignoring the local communities in attempts to restore peace. Arresting every idle youth wont help, it’s a PR gimmick we are used to, remember the Eastleigh combing. I watched a witness speaking to a reporter lamenting how the police are ineffective, he could gaze at them speeding from one town to another ignoring the locals who at any given time have the single largest source of intelligence.

KDF managed to seize Kismaiyo Island in Somalia by persistently befriending the locals who would later entrust them as the custodians of peace. They eventually got the intelligence they needed to disarm Al shabaab. We simply need to copy paste this.

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LIFE LESSONS FROM BRAZIL – WORLD CUP

gThe curtains have finally fallen from the Samba nation in Maracana Stadium that hosted the final match of the 64 fixtures FIFA World Cup 2014, that saw Germany, otherwise known as Die Mannschaft clinch the coveted trophy which was marred with drama, sensation, tense moments and painful losses and even deaths after betting and feuds from fans went bad. I have to admit South Africa did a far better job in terms of preparations given that it hosted the maiden World Cup for Africa and vis-a-vis the lackluster work displayed by the committee tasked with organizing the huge assignment not to mention deaths of workers and frequent protests.
That is now water down the drain, what is more important is to pick up the pieces and apply them in real life.

Preparations
Good preparations made things a bit easier for Germany to cruise through the grueling matches; beating Portugal, USA, Algeria, France and even Argentina calls for a machine that is well lubricated and serviced. They did not win by sheer luck, they studied data on everything sports science from climate trends to player fitness in seeking an advantage in this tournament. Same to life, preparations come in handy. Be it in an exam or interview, they build your confidence and boost your chances of succeeding. Just like education is a foundation that is meant to give you knowledge which in the long run enables one to earn a living and more importantly make sound decisions in life.

Discipline
Unfortunately African countries were the most affected. Cameroon not only played mediocre football but also displayed their uncivilized ways of doing things. It only worsens the notion to people who discern this continent to be of primitive people. When players fight each other in the pitch and even drag it to the dressing rooms cannot be justified nor tolerated in modern day society. Someone told me to always make discipline my friend. It is so essential in life, there is no virtue that beats it. It is through indiscipline that one loses friends, get sacked from a good job and even misses out opportunities in life. Indiscipline is a ‘friend’ to failure, misery and all the bad things in life.

Opportunities
If Argentina capitalized on the few chances Gonzalo Higuain and Messi had, perhaps things would have been different after 90 minutes. Maybe they could not have gone for the extra time since games with such high stakes are determined by just one goal. Opportunities are meant to be grabbed and utilized, not caressed nor admired, that should come later if need be. Argentina lost not because they played bad football, but because they squandered their opportunities. In life you will be judged by the opportunities you utilize or miss, life is very unforgiving. To utilize opportunities, you must be alert and well prepared otherwise you will just make a goof.

Over dependence
I grew to love football after watching the ‘original’ Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, Cafu and the likes of Roberto Carlos play amazing football. I fell in love with the Brazil team. Fast forward 2014, it was disastrous for Brazil, not even that added advantage of being the host would help. From the first game when they played Croatia, I smelled trouble. The team with a such a rich history and arguably the biggest footballing country in the world had been reduced to Neymar and Neymar equaled Brazil. Plain and simple. Over dependence on this great lad was too costly for them. In fact they were humiliated, embarrassed and ‘Braziled’ by Germany. Overdependence on people and things is catastrophic, one day you will learn the hard way, be it friends, your employer, your job….Life calls for plan B, C,D,E so forth. You simply never know what tomorrow brings.

Arrogance
Being aloof is a sign of insecurity. Why is it that its only in Africa that players have this ‘bigwig syndrome’ that they are bigger than the team. From Oliech’s of this world, Essien, Etoo, Kevin Prince Boateng and the long list. Lionel Messi with several dozens of trophies remains so humble and laid back. In Germany you can never pin point a bigwig. In March 2010, when Thomas Muller made a debut to international football in a friendly against Argentina, Diego Maradona in a post conference match joked of how he thought Muller was a ball boy. Note that three months later, the latter went on to win the golden boot in South Africa as the former was sacked unceremoniously. Nature has humour. My point is Muller is a typical laid back next door boy. Life is more fair when you try to be humble even when you can’t. The opposite brings along many unnecessary feuds and baggage in life.

Mediocrity
African teams lost for playing mediocre football. I belong to the school of thought that proposes Africa to be given utmost two slots. Otherwise come 2018 in Russia, status quo will be represented by the likes of Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Cameroon because the rest play more mediocre football. Competitiveness and good football structures are the only solutions that can root out this mess. Life applies the same principle, in fact it punishes mediocrity. With your few or many skills, try be as a professional as you can, give more than a 100%, embrace your clients and employees, take time to produce quality products and services, life will reward you handsomely.
Enough said.

THE SENSATIONAL MIDDLE CLASS

naxI actually bore this idea out of a discourse I had with two of my colleagues in the office about what went down in Masaku in connection to the so called middle class people. None of us attended the event but like everybody else, we had as much information as those who attended. Social media is very good with this kind of news. Ogling came free for lads in attendance, a good number of the ladies decided to give men good fodder for the eye and outdo each other in dressing scantly or rather not dressing. NACADA chairman drew a comparison between what happened in Machakos to Sodom and Gomorrah story in the bible. Media personality Ciku Muiruri asked, what is there to flaunt about making out in the bushes or in a car’s boot! Well that’s middle class for you, with lots of baggage and so much to prove.masaku

According to African Development Bank, Kenya middle class stands at about 6.48 million, the fourth largest in Sub Saharan Africa. The bank calculates the size of the middle class based on the number of people earning more than $2 a day and less than $10 (Sh870). This measure defines the middle class in relative terms: those who are not poor and not vastly wealthy given the average income in their country. They are also well educated, informed and techonology savvy. You would shudder to imagine these are the same people who turn the moral compass upside down.

Sensational and overzealousness best describes them, they ride and swim over it. You will spot a dude with a blue tooth enabled device pegged on his ear, a smartphone on the left hand while the right one does the driving, an I pad placed on the lap, an alcohol can beside his driving sit, a cigar between the lips in a car with deafening music. They will attend Rhino Charge somewhere along the terrains of Samburu, the following weekend they will be in Lewa Marathon on a Saturday morning, not to run but to mingle and later fly for Masaku Sevens not to miss the theatrics of underage kids or campus divas imbibing without control. Next time they will drive in droves to catch up with the KCB Rally circuit in Nanyuki and later drive half sober to ‘NaxVegas’ to savour fun in a town that encapsulates it too well.

They believe in faking till you make it, from padded hips, customized weaves and ‘decent bleaching’ for both men and women. In fact someone joked its hard to recognize your ex nowadays since everybody is bleaching. They do not wait for weekends, indoor events are the in- thing, and shisha is served in cakes laced with it or better still they will make the ambience smoky. One of their new problems is taking ‘groundies’, we must have done it in our childhood only that we did not have smartphones!

All sums perhaps towards chasing the elusive happiness! I can bet the class below middle class is more happy. Am tempted to imagine Dave Ramsey had this people in mind when he said;“We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” Someone also said, its poor parenting at 16 years that produces a ratchet at 17. If we are not the Sodom and Gomorrah that Mututho talked about, then we are headed there.

DISSECTING KENYA’S EUROBOND

CBK

Ideally governments rely on taxes collected from its citizens to run government projects and for recurrent expenditures. But its never easy even for the very developed countries to fully finance their budgets. External borrowing is one option governments use to close in on the budget deficit or through internal borrowing, that is from the local financial institutions. Governments tend to shy away from the former due to lots of red tapes, transparency requisite and credit history which is critically analysed. Investors are also very inquisitive of a country’s economy prospect, naturally because its a form of risk to them.

So why does Kenya need the Eurobond?

In order to achieve vision 2030, key sectors such as energy, transport and agriculture will be the backbones of that economy. The bulk of that money will go towards these key infrastructural projects as they are essential drivers in propelling the economy going forward. Funds raised from the bond are also said to be used to settle a sh.52.5billion syndicated loan. The credit market will also witness a reduced pressure from the government and hence lead to reduction of loan interest rates due to markets forces since the government is the biggest borrower. This will also create room for the private sector to borrow money from banks more affordably. The shilling will also leverage on the fortunes of the bond as Central bank of Kenya will have an increased reserve for dollar currency which consequently will reduce its demand. A stable shilling its paramount especially with such an ambitious budget for this new financial year and also in engulfing the economy from external or internal shocks

Its important to note Kenya’s Eurobond has been the most successful so far in Africa’s context. It was oversubscribed by over four times loosely translating to $8.8 billion, depicting investors confidence in the country’s economy. Its split into two, $0.5 million will be paid in 5 years and $1.5million in 10 years

The diversity of Kenya’s economy greatly influenced the success of the bond. I.C.T sector has been growing in leaps and bounds, good prospects in gas ,coal and oil, agriculture, tourism and a relatively stable inflation which somehow managed to withstand shocks triggered by politics and last year’s elections.The country is also said to have an impressive credit rating in terms of meeting its financial obligations. This is critical and one of the obvious things potential investors look for. Pundits in the financial sector project the country will be in a position to pay the pricipal amount upon maturity in the year 2024 so long as the money is utilised prudently.

The government recently announced a new formula in assessing bank interest rates to be known as Kenya Banks Reference Rate (KBRR). This will be an average of the Central Bank Rate (after every announcement by the Monetary Policy Committee meetings) and the 91-day Treasury Bill Rate plus a premium to be determined by each bank. Loan seekers will be also entitled to full disclosure of all bank charges. This is good step by government to streamline interest rates which have been going over the roof as banks laugh all the way with staggering super profits.