Opinion: The IMF doesn’t understand the BBI

The proposed constitutional amendments are an outcome of the Building Bridges Initiative, a cross-party endeavor to promote unity through wide-ranging legislative and institutional reforms, including a more broad-based and inclusive executive structure, enhanced judicial accountability, and increased devolution to local governments” (IMF – ‘IMF Country Report No. 21/72’ P: 4, April 2021)

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) shows its ignorance and lack of understanding of what purpose and what means the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) really has. That is evident when they are dropping a footnote like this in the middle of IMF Country Report on Kenya. Where they are planning to loan more money and start a modern twist of Structural Adjustment Program (SAP).

The IMF is clearly still believing in the SAP and its mechanisms. Since the proposed ideals of the strings with the IMF loans is seemingly so. That of privatization of State Owned Enterprises and other measures to cover the deficits. While the government still takes up more loans to cover that.

This with the huge debt burden and rising amounts of loan, which has been steadily issued during the reign of Kenyatta. The IMF isn’t worried that the state is paying huge percentages in interests of the old loans. This is deficit financing and the state is supposed to restructure itself. Meaning, in a state of poverty levels are high. The state is supposed to be able to retain new tax-bases and domestic revenue. When 7 out of 10 is living in poverty. That is really infuriating.

IMF clearly just wants to loan out funds and use that put strings on the nation taking it. They will control both the legislation, budget priorities and how the state operates. The IMF Country Reports states this. That’s why its weird that they are not more focused on the BBI. As that legislation would change the finances, state expenditure and giving more power to the Executive (Head of State).

The IMF should study the texts and the constitutional changes in the BBI. Because, if the Kenyan government changes accordingly to these stipulations. Than the President will have more power and he can do more with his office. The BBI is made for the elites and it seems like IMF is catering to that.

That is why its disappointing. If the IMF cares about legislation and laws. They should dig a bit deeper into the effects and what the BBI possibly affects the state. Not just a minor footnote. Though the IMF only cares about Economic and Financial Mechanisms. That is natural, as these folks is most likely Political Science Majors, but auditors and accountants. Since, they use most part on these implications, but not on caring on about the Constitutional Amendments in the BBI.

The IMF doesn’t even care enough about the growing debt burden by adding more debt to cover the deficit. While expecting the state do several of actions to not only scrap government services, restructure state owned enterprises and create new financial mechanisms. Therefore, the acts of the IMF is not without other “costs”.

We know the state and the government is known for corruption and kickbacks. The President and all of his elites have been eating without any issues during his reign. There been scandals upon scandals. There been one scandal leading to another. It is not like the Kenyan authorities doesn’t have a Judiciary, Police Force and other agencies to look into graft, grand corruption and other white-collar crime. If the state wanted to take it seriously. They could easily cease it and go after the heads who commits it. However, these activities are usually happening as political assassinations and not a criminal investigation. Therefore, the idea of IMF to make more laws will not stop. Then they are naive and foolish.

But then again, it is the same IMF who clearly haven’t dwelled into the BBI properly. If the IMF had looked into the BBI. They wouldn’t have made it into a footnote and made it so unimportant. When all political gambits before the 2022 elections have been invested into it.

That’s why the IMF clearly values their own additions and strings on a loan more than the already legislation, which is into the works. A legislation and constitutional reform, which will not be less costly, but add more additional expenditure on the state. Not only be a “favourable” spread of domestic with the counties of the Republic. That is such a distorted view of what the BBI represents and does.

The IMF, if anyone seriously work there and cares about political science. This is hack-work and hack-job. Where they have either eaten everything served and believed it. If not they have been tricked and not understood it. Lastly, they have understood it, but doesn’t care about the implications it does have. As long as they follow the reforms and adjustments they want to achieve with the granting of the new huge loan their way. Peace.

Opinion: The launch of the “KANU” Alliance

All the lost boys of the National Super Alliance (NASA) and Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) has now found a new home. The former Deputies of these coalition have now signed to a new deal. This time they have all left “Baba” or Raila Odinga. Who was the main opposition leader in the two previous elections and the Presidential Candidate for NASA and CORD coalitions.

Now, Moses Wetan’gula, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi all have found a new home with the main candidate Gideon Moi. This coalition is named One Kenya Coalition. These are all former KANU people who is going back home in a way. They have been around and created their own parties, but is now sort of going “home. These Deputies now have Moi instead of Odinga. That is the reality of it all.

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is claiming to seek other coalitions today. That is not shocking, as it is close connected to Jubilee with the handshake. While the Deputy President William Ruto have finally revealed that his supporting United Democratic Alliance (UDA) and the Wheelbarrow Movement. This is showing the possible big challenges ahead.

It wouldn’t be shocking if Ruto was a Presidential Candidate against Moi. The wildcard here is Odinga and what he chooses to do. KANU have already signed a deal with Jubilee. The same has Kalonzo done and that made him a Special Envoy. While Mudavadi and Wetan’gula have been lost in the wind and haven’t had much traction after the handshake.

Kenyatta steered the opposition really wisely in his second term. In a manner to trap them in a Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) and getting a constitutional reform, which will strengthen the executive and the central government.

What is really striking, but not shocking is that the Deputies got a new home. Odinga had already gone after them recently and called them out. So, the trust between isn’t what it used to be. ODM might feel strong and vibrant. But…. they have traded all hope and only got results, if the BBI becomes some sort of success. The ODM is bound by the fate of BBI and what it does. They are connected to the second term of Kenyatta and they cannot run away from that.

That is why 2022 isn’t only Ruto and Tanga Tanga against the rest. No, it can be the triple bet with Odinga, OKA and UDA in fierce political battle. While we can wonder if Linda Katiba Movement, Ukweli Party or United Green Movement have anything to offer. The Thirdway Alliance have been totally out of whack after the 2017 elections.

This is why the trio of Moi, Ruto and Odinga seems like the big-men ahead of the polls. These seems to be the characters. Now, Moi got a boost of his candidacy with the deputies of CORD/NASA on his side. They are trying to be a team of misfits getting a new deal. We can wonder if this is the trick. The same folks has tried before, but now with a new “master”.

Odinga could seek the Jubilee support and be supported by the ones who isn’t “Tanga Tanga” in the party there. Still, that is not the same. Neither, will he find friends in the three earlier mentioned opposition parties who are all against the BBI. I doubt these have any interests to join him and with the knowledge of how he traded his stance to buy “peace” after the 2017 elections.

Now, time will only tell, but the NASA/CORD era is gone. Its a revitalized KANU time for these leaders now. They are now bolstering behind Moi and hoping the dynasties is the ticket to the promised lands.

However, they are going against someone as cunning as Ruto. Not to forget they are going against Odinga too. These two will not let go easily and will not back-down without some sort of pay-off. These two knows this and they know how to make things happen. Therefore, the time ahead of 2022 will be interesting.

Nevertheless, the race for the new CORD/NASA is gone. The OKA have eaten that one up. That ship has sailed. Now, we have to wait for the moves of the other power-brokers and how they will operate. As they want to challenge and find the strongest possible alliance. This is clear and we can only imagine.

Expect the unexpected. Moi will maybe able to get more under his wings and be even a bigger collective. God only knows. However, it seems like this is a preparation for his term in office. The elites and the dynasties is at play. That wouldn’t be shocking. Uhuru go it and now it’s Gideon’s turn. Peace.

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Kenya: Agriculture and Food Authority cease imports of UNGA from Uganda and Tanzania

Today, the Agriculture and Food Authority wrote a letter to the Commissioner of Customs, Pamela Ahago. There it stated that it “stopped any further imports of the maize into Kenya with immediate effect”. It also said the reason why: “conducting surveillance on the safety of food imports to Kenya”. The last is: “Test results for maize imported from Uganda and Tanzania have revealed higher levels of mycotoxins that are consistently beyond safety limits”.

When you read that it makes sense. You might wonder, what is mycotoxins? Well, it is: “Mycotoxins are toxic compounds that are naturally produced by certain types of moulds (fungi). Moulds that can produce mycotoxins grow on numerous foodstuffs such as cereals, dried fruits, nuts and spices” (…) “The effects of some food-borne mycotoxins are acute with symptoms of severe illness appearing quickly after consumption of food products contaminated with mycotoxins. Other mycotoxins occurring in food have been linked to long-term effects on health, including the induction of cancers and immune deficiency” (World Health Organization (WHO) – ‘Mycotoxins’ 09.05.2016).

We can be sure that the Ugandan and Tanzanian authorities will react to this. As they will not accept this and will be scorn. The Kenyan Authority is right in doing this. Especially with the concern of food safety and food for human consumption should be key priority. Therefore, to cease or suspend imports of Maize makes sense.

What is also striking is the amount of maize that is exported to the Kenya market from the neighbours, which a report in 2020 said: “Kenya imported 44,740 metric tonnes of white maize from the region in the second quarter of 2020, accounting for more than three quarters of the total grain sold across borders in the period in East Africa. The latest Food Security and Nutrition Working Group (FSNWG) East Africa Cross Border Trade report shows that 58 and 39 per cent of the imports came from Uganda and Tanzania, respectively” (Kevin Rotich – ‘Tanzania, Uganda supply majority of Kenya’s maize imports’ 03.08.2020).

The main importers of maize to Kenya comes from these two. That means the main imports has stopped and the ones who exports it to the Republic. This also means the Kenyans are losing their main sources of White Maize. Maize is staple in the ugali and therefore a vital commodity.

The UNGA is a important aspect and has been subsidized by the government in the past too. We cannot know if the Maize cartels will earn from this. Just like the previous stockpiling exercises in 2017 and 2018. UNGA have been questioned and how the state have treated it.

In June in 2017 CS Willy Bett said this: “Since we started the subsidised programme, we have witnessed more Kenyans preferring unga, thus the high demand for maize flour,” (Ngotho, Agatha – ‘Kenyans eating more ugali to blame for unga shortage – CS’ (20.06.2017) link: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2017/06/20/kenyans-eating-more-ugali-to-blame-for-unga-shortage-cs_c1582605?platform=hootsuite).

It might come something similar happening now. As the state is directly losing its key trading partners who exports it to them. It is not like the Kenyans will stop eating UNGA. That is not happening. So, the need for maize flour will persist and we have to wonder where they will import it from now. Peace.

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