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A Working Paper reveals the political stakes in the Kenya-Somali Illegal Sugar Trade!

The Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) have had a study into the border trade and sugar exports through Somalia into Kenya. How it is used and how it gets to the market. Clearly, the market for sugar is there in Kenya. As the Sugar Industry is struggling to deliver enough sugar and the state has embargoed imports. Still, the same actors and the same politicians are doing behind closed doors agreements that put the sugar in stores through the porous borders of the Kenyan-Somalian border.

The paper itself paint the picture very well and show the importance of the export, since the magnitude on both economies are affected by it. It is also implicating big names and their organizations. As the politicians has another black-market cartel item to sell to the public. What was striking was that the importers together with local merchants are repacking the sugar into bags of the State Owned Entity (SOE) of Mumias. The Company that has been saved the state after devastating corruption and also lacking investment into the mills. Therefore, the politicians has used this name to trade illegal sugar with name. That they even used the stickers to prove it was of Kenyan quality while selling it to the public.

The quotes I have taken, is what see as important. But its compelling to show the this illegal imports into Kenya affects the politicians and the economy in general. Take a look!

The Amount of Money:

Raw sugar accounts for 10% of total Somali imports rated at US $188 billion (Observatory of Economic Complexity 2016). In other words, sugar importing is enormously lucrative and important for the local economy on both sides of the border. The sugar imported from Somalia is central for covering the production and import deficit in Kenya. Most sugar enters through Kismayu port where it is manually loaded onto trucks and driven to the Kenyan border. There it is re-loaded onto other trucks, four-wheel drive vehicles and even donkey carts to cross the border on the so-called ‘rat routes’ that circumvent the border posts to avoid the payment of bribes, random checks by the Kenyan Revenue Authority (KRA), and the occasional confiscation. Based on interviews and observation JFJ estimates that 150,000 tons of illegal sugar entered Kenya from Kismayu in 2014 (JFJ 2015). This amounts to US $400 million worth of annual revenue divided between KDF, Al-Shabaab, local businessmen and politicians, as well as local police and border patrols, including the KRA (though this is not formal revenue) (JFJ 2015)” (DIIS Working Paper, P: 10, 2017).

KRA:

The investigator explained how his unit, in collaboration with the Kenyan Revenue Authorities (KRA) and the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), had planned the raid of a warehouse in an industrial area of Nairobi. They had found tons of processed Brazilian sugar allegedly smuggled into Kenya via Somalia, and it was now being repackaged from 50 kilo sacks into 500 gram and 1 kilo bags bearing the Kenyan brand Mumias Sugar and with added stickers from KEBS showing that the product meets Kenyan standards of production and quality. The repackaged sugar is – when not confiscated by the authorities – sold to retailers as refined Kenyan sugar at a huge profit. In 2014 a one kilo sugar bag sold for KES 133 in Nairobi supermarkets, and by May 2017 prices had gone up to KES 170 with some supermarkets rationing it to one package per customer” (DIIS Working Paper, P: 12, 2017).

Political Influence:

Like the former Nairobi governor Evans Kidero, the Garissa governor Nathif Jama Adam, and the Garissa-born majority speaker of parliament Aden Duale are rumoured to be implicated in the sugar trade (Rawlence 2016: 236). These rumours reach all the way to Nairobi where they can be voiced more freely than in the north. The power of the people implicated by the rumours is more distant in Nairobi, whereas in the northern parts of Kenya the secrecy associated with the rumours points to the importance and power of those involved” (…) “With devolution, local government has become more powerful and more is at stake for locally elected officials due to their increased budget responsibilities and decision-making powers. Concomitantly, local government has become more vulnerable to pressures from local stakeholders like strong businessmen, militias and other state actors. The porous border, the circumvention of border patrols, and the implication of government officials ranging from KDF to KRA means that much of the sugar is not declared to Kenyan customs officials, making Garissa county one of the largest illicit markets in the country. The flow of goods across the border and further into Kenya formally falls under the responsibility of KRA and the national government. Yet the county government is responsible for local revenue collection and enforcement at local markets and car parks, and they also issue licenses for traders. In that sense the warehouses in the region fall under county administration. The latter thus plays an important role in the possibilities for the redistribution of smuggled goods” (DIIS Working Paper, P: 15, 18, 2017).

This here is evidence of cartels, illegal trade that is benefiting the political elites in Kenya and in Somalia. They are both having knowledge of it and its undermining the embargoes and also the activity itself. Since the politicians are the ones that has put in the provisions and the laws to stop imports to secure the local sugar industry.

This paper shows how much money that is involved. It is big business and the cartels are earning fortunes on lie, where they take foreign cheap sugar and trade it as Kenyan sugar with stickers of authenticity of KEBS. That is clearly a violation in itself, but combined with the illegal sugar, they are even using sophisticated methods to trade it to the public. To make the sugar seem like Kenya, when it isn’t.

That this money is shared by many different part of government officials was implicated int the trade from Kenya Defense Force Officials, Kenya Revenue Authority Officials, Border Patrol, Politicians and even Somali terrorist organization Al-Shabab. So the Kenyan are sending military to Somali to fight Al-Shabab, but at the same time giving them revenue with illegal sugar trade. That is a striking a fact considering the use of military to secure safety for Kenyans. Therefore, the cartels are also making sure the reason they are fighting inside Somalia are funded by the stakes into the illegal sugar industry. That should put some alarm bells on. That the politicians are playing with matches and should know that this cartel plus funding of Al-Shabab might hurt them in the long-run. Instead of being just a profitable business.

This is eye-opening and also a tale of corruption and sugar-cartels using the porous borders between the republics in favor of those dealing illegal sugar and selling it on the Kenyan market. Certainly, this sort of thing will implicate bigger names, than the ones mentioned in the paper. If investigated and looked through. You could certainly also find many bigger names who has created massive wealth within short amount of time. Peace.

Reference:

Rasmussen, Jacob – ‘SWEET SECRETS: SUGAR SMUGGLING AND STATE FORMATION IN THE KENYA–SOMALIA BORDERLANDS’ (December 2017) – DIIS Working Paper 2017:11

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I wonder if President Kenyatta feel he is entitled and that it is beneath him to have a debate with Odinga?

You can wonder and get amazed, he did the same trick President Museveni did in the General Election 2016, and he did not show up at the live TV debate between the Presidential Candidates. Just like in Uganda, his arch nemesis showed up and that was the NASA candidate Raila Odinga. Not that all the other candidates showed up either, but it was only one-half of the main candidates. That the incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Jubilee could not show is amazing. Especially, since there were reports that he ditched the planned rallies on the same day.

At this point, it does not matter what Odinga said yesterday at the Debate, he at least showed up on Primetime TV spot and showed himself for the republic and the incumbent could not care less about the arranged debate. What is so dangerous about it Kenyatta? Is it terrible to ask questions about your achievement in office?

It seems so, since you could not spare the time or the effort to show up to the debate. Only one that was on live TV and on most of the channels. I would have loved to discuss the difference in style and in chose of words to the different questions between Odinga and Kenyatta. However, I cannot do that, since it was one party there and the other left behind.

So at this point, it is mere enough for the support and the courage of Odinga, just to be there and take the questions from journalists and the audience, something the President was to big to do or something like that.

His State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu wrote this today: “Today, His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta will commence an intense 12-day tour of Kenya, to meet fellow citizens from all walks of life, in all regions of the country. His last campaign events will be in the capital Nairobi on August 6 – 48 hours before the August 8 elections. This will be the second round of an all counties campaign where the President will take his message to Kenyans. Only this Sunday he completed a 14-counties blitz covered in seven days in which he put his call for unity and peace at the heart of his campaign agenda. These meet-the-people visits will see the President traverse 30 counties, making stops at more than 200 campaign stops. His Excellency the Deputy President, the Honourable William Ruto, will be visiting dozens of counties as well, making another 200 campaign stops. The President is going directly to the people to demonstrate what the August election is about – himself as someone who is fighting to deliver benefits, success and prosperity to the people versus an opposition challenger who is only after power for himself” (President.co.ke – ‘Spokesperson’s statement’ 25.07.2017).

It is okay, that the President campaigns and travels to every corner of Kenya, that he visit every single county and even every major town of the Republic. Nevertheless, why do he not have the time for a scheduled TV-Debate? Is that too much to ask and anticipate of the President? That the people all through the nation can watch and discuss the differences between him and Odinga?

Let me end on a side-note, but still a viable one. Does President Kenyatta, feel entitled to be the President and therefore a debate about his position and character is beneath him? That is how it can seem like, to not only me, but also many others.

Therefore, we are at this junction and so near the end of the campaigns and race for 8th August polls, there have been significant difference between the NASA and Jubilee from the get-go. In addition, with the time, it is more evident, than ever before. This race will be tight and prognoses seems to be for NASA in many aspects, but hard to grasp yet. There are enough days to see the wind of change. Nevertheless, this is something that is hard to anticipate.

What we can ask ourselves after yesterday’s acts of the President Kenyatta, does he feel entitled to rule and be Executive, or is it just mere arrogance towards Odinga. Peace.

Kenya: NASA Condems Plans for Military Involvement in Election (23.07.2017)

Jubilee government are afraid for the Post-Election since they prepare for massive demonstrations!

There is something rare about election and preparations to them. The decisions made in the days, months before really sends signals to what is important, and what is needed for the safety of the Republic. Now, it’s revealed, that it was not just whistling out of his mouth, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Joseph Boinnet, did yesterday. He and his organization, the security operations of the Police has purchased and prepared itself for massive demonstrations. As if they are prepared for an uprising, since the results might differ to the actual voting. Which in some regions should be in favor of NASA instead of Jubilee. However, alas, that is why the IGP have been busy with the Minister of Interior to get new merchandise and make ready for mayhem. The Police who are there to serve and protect, do not trust the citizen they are working for! Therefore, they have ordered dozens of new Armored Vehicles from South Korea, tons of tear-gas and other equipment to make sure the citizens stay behind closed doors and behave. Just look!

At least a dozen new South Korean made riot control vehicles arrived in Nairobi at the weekend, increasing to more than 30, the number of water canons for police use to quell chaos. The fleet of new armoured vehicles with advanced features is in addition to a new consignment of anti-riot gear including teargas canisters, batons, anti-riot wear and guns that have come through the port of Mombasa. Security sources explained the new anti-riot gear has been distributed to various parts of the country in the past month alone as authorities prepare to secure elections and deal with violence should it break out” (Ombati, 2017).

“The vehicle, according to the manufacturer’s website, has capacity to mix the chemical from the cabin while water gun shooting. It has a nozzle of shooting distance of minimum of 25 metres and maximum 70 metres with an elevation of 90 degrees and rotation of 320 degrees. Each of the new trucks has two water cannons on top of the cabin. It also has a fully automated and centralised control system, a cabin protector and can carry seven crew at a time” (Ombati, 2017).

“Tonnes of tear gas canisters are also among resources that have been mobilised and sent to various places ahead of the polls” (Ombati, 2017).

It seems like the Jubilee government are afraid, they are nervous of the aftermath of the election. They seem to be on edge and wondering how it will go, since they have to threaten, spread fear and buy all of this expensive equipment to silence possible demonstrators. They do not trust the public and their will, when they are super prepared for violence, even when there is no reason to be alarmed. It is supposed to be peaceful elections, right?

It is right that the opposition has hold dozens of demonstrations against the Electoral Body of the Republic and the amendments concerning legislation towards the election. Not that the Jubilee did give much way, only the needed steps to stop the leadership from making their supports continue to rally. Still, the attempt of distrust and disengage the public. Seems very obvious, since instead of being in dialogue with the local leadership at the possible hot-spots. They are coming with tear-gas and anti-riot gear. Not talking, but planning to suppress the distrust from the public towards the Central Government. That is what the planned effort looks like. Not like Jubilee took time to talk and engage, but rather bought expensive riot-gear from South Korea. Like that going to solve the possible problem, if it there and known about.

The only thing it will do, it will quell the demonstrations and possible aftermath of the election, but the wounds are still there. This is not patching up the hurt. Instead, it is spreading fire, with more fire and hope it stop it. It could work, but what cost? When the left behind is burned land and no seedlings of hope for the future.

Shouldn’t the government have worked for a better solution and also had more faith in their citizens than expecting violence and demonstration, that is if the government and electoral bodies we’re prepared for a free and fair election, and not a rigged one. Time will tell, time will only tell. Nevertheless, these signs of possible oppression from the National Police Service does not give me green light. More of the red light and concern of the outcome. Since the Police and the authorities already prepare to use massive force against civilians. Peace.

Reference:

Ombati, Cyrus – ‘More tear gas, guns arrive to deal with mass protests after August elections’ (17.07.2017) link: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001247838/more-tear-gas-guns-arrive-to-deal-with-mass-protests-after-august-elections

IGP Boinnet and the CA spreads fear before the polls in Kenya!

Again, as before the authorities and ruling regime in Kenya are ready to spread fear in the two months ahead of the polls on 8th August 2017. Clearly, the Jubilee administration and their caretakers are afraid of the public will or their own justice. Since they have to go out from both the National Police Service and from the Communication Authority. Seemingly, this instead of talking with the people and engaging them in their communities. That they are both saying the citizens are the reason for causing violence and chaos, also their acts on social media. Surely, this shows how little tolerance it is for the ones outside the parameter of the government. Both Boinett and Daima doesn’t trust their own citizens, which they are supposed to represent. Just take a look!

The Police Warning the Public:

Inspector-General Joseph Boinnet on Monday said police would have to use “slightly more force than that used by violence perpetrators” if chaos breaks out.“If violence occurs, then we have to stop it and it means we will use slightly more force than that used by those causing violence,” he told a meeting on election preparedness at a Nairobi hotel” (Misiko & Moseti, 2017).

Social Media Warning:

CA has called on Kenyans not to misuse the internet and social media especially during this campaign period. While addressing the media after KEPSA- Mkenya Daima morning meeting, CA chair said CA would not shutdown the internet on 8/8 unless Kenyans pushed them to do so” (Nation.co.ke, 2017).

We can see that the state and the authorities doesn’t respect their citizens with this sort of acts. It is already proven, that the Kenyan government have bought more Anti-Riot Gear ahead of the polls for possible demonstrations against the post-election. It seems like the Jubilee government fears the public and the citizens. Since they have to go with stern warnings and intimidation, instead of trying to up-ease the public in the days ahead of the polls.

If they didn’t fear and didn’t distrust the public, they wouldn’t have released these statements and warnings. Instead of trying ease the public and saying we will be there for you. They say we come with stronger force and we might shut-down the internet. Seems, like the President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto have learned from the General Election in 2016. Where both things happen and the Police together with the army was all-out during the days of the election. Even the VPN s came up so people could use social-media and be online. So the Kenyans should download VPN now and be prepared in-case of the actions of the CA.

But we have seen how the police acted towards the Anti-IEBC demonstrations that the CORD coalition was involved in during the 2016. The police brutality was vicious and harsh. There was no mercy to the citizens fearing the problems and loopholes that the Electoral Body had. Also, after the famous Chickengate. Therefore, when it is so soon the polls of the General Elections in Kenya. This sort of words and warnings isn’t creating a better environment, but they are showing arrogance and fear for uprisings. They have no problem silencing the voices of the people. They are not trusting them and therefore sending warnings.

It is time for one thing, that the authorities engage the public and put some trust in them. Since the authorities are serving them and are there for them. They are not their for the President, but for all the people in the Republic. Peace.

Reference:

Misiko, Harry & Moseti, Brian – ‘Police issue chilling warning on poll chaos’ (17.07.2017) link: http://www.nation.co.ke/news/Joseph-Boinnet-issues-chilling-warning-to-violence-perpetrators/1056-4018244-14icqavz/index.html

Nation.co.ke – ‘Use social media responsibly or we will shut the internet down – Communications Authority of Kenya’ (17.07.2017) link: http://www.nation.co.ke/video/1951480-4018236-ai5hxh/index.html

Kenya: IEBC – “Update on Preparation for the General Election” (14.07.2017)

Kenya: NASA statement on the massive irregularties in the voters’ register (10.07.2017)

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