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The SGR Trick: Which was all based on, if Beijing blessed Nairobi!

I will be part of the delegation to accompany the President to the Asian country next week. The new SGR line will extend from Naivasha, Narok, Bomet, Sondu and finally Kisumu” – Raila Odinga on the 20th April 2019

We are now surely living in interesting days. Not enough that the “opposition” leader and Building Bridges Initiative leader Raila Odinga was stringing along with President Uhuru Kenyatta to Beijing and the Belt and Road Initiative Summit in Beijing this week. It was a grand summit with all the partners who are cooperating with the Chinese on their mission. Clearly, the Kenyan government officials had to go. As they have substantial investments, loans and projects already done in Kenya.

This being the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Mombasa to Nairobi, now the second extension is to Naivasha. Clearly, that is not as golden as getting it to Kisumu. Then it would be a better deal to get the railway from Uganda connected too. The reason why President Museveni even took the ride in Kenya during the last month or so. Therefore, the trip to China now, seems abysmal. Even if they get to sell avocados. It is at least something.

I will first show you the two reports from the day before the Kenyan Officials flew to Beijing as they were scheduled to meet and negotiate a loan for an extension of the SGR to Kisumu. Alas, that has clearly not gone to plan. That is why I will show what one media house in Kenya wrote today and what the State House claims after failing.

CTGN reported on the 23rd April 2019:

Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta will today travel to China to secure a Sh368 billion loan for the extension of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR)” (Christine Maema – ‘Kenya’s President travels to China to secure Sh368b SGR loan’ 23.04.2019, link: https://africa.cgtn.com/2019/04/23/kenyas-president-travels-to-china-to-secure-sh368b-sgr-loan/).

Standard Media on the same day:

President Uhuru Kenyatta will today travel to China to negotiate a Sh368 loan billion for extension of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), a State House official has confirmed. Uhuru will be flanked by African Union’s High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa, Raila Odinga” (Moses Nyamori – ‘ Uhuru leaves for China to secure Sh368bn loan for SGR extension’ 23.04.2019, link: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001322214/uhuru-goes-to-china-for-more-loans).

Citizen Kenya reports today:

However, there was no word from the Kenya – China talks on the Naivasha – Kisumu SGR extension. Instead, Kenya signed an operation and maintenance service agreement for the Nairobi to Naivasha segment of the SGR. “.. the most important investment right now is to connect the SGR to Naivasha MGR so that come August there will be seamless connectivity,” CS Macharia said, the government choosing to hold its head high despite not achieving the much sought after Ksh.368billion” (Citizen Kenya – ‘ SGR construction to end in Naivasha as China loan bid flops’ 27.04.2019, link: https://citizentv.co.ke/news/sgr-construction-to-end-in-naivasha-as-china-loan-bid-flops-242884/).

State House Press Statement:

It is important to note that the question of funding for the extension of the Standard Guage Railway from Naivasha to Kisumu was not on the agenda of the meeting between the two President’s. It therefore follows that the President cannot be said to be returning home empty handed for something he did not request. It further goes without saying that these headlines are are not only factually incorrect, they are misleading and extremely damaging to the reputation of the People and the Government of the Republic of Kenya. Whilst making it clear that the Government of Kenya did not discuss any funding proposals for the extension of the SGR at this meeting, it is very critical to state at this point that the SGR project is a regional project and the complexities in negotiating its completion involve several countries and securing financing for its completion could take several years of intricate negotiations” (State House – Press Statement, 27.04.2019).

First be first, the delegation from Kenya was a bit to excited and well prepared to come home with a giant loan. To a state and republic already high on the old loans. Where the SGR is already a losing money project and it is well established. As well, as the levels of loans compared to the budgets are already hitting the economy too. Therefore, that they were so pleased to travel for more loans is a crazy idea, but in the sphere of Jubilee, its just another Tuesday.

Secondly, the media showed and mirrored the events before, where both Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta was preparing for the loans. Kenyatta even had visit from Museveni to ensure his support and willingness to add the stakes for an extension. Because, that would mean, the same sort of deal and arrangement could be done with Kampala as well. Alas, the Northern Corridor Integration Projects with the SGR between the Republic is surely on hold. As the Republics are not capable or able to configure the stakes, the leverage or collateral for the Chinese to accept the conditions of a possible loan.

Third, when the State House comes out with a Press Release like today. It is sort of thinking that people have the memory of a gold-fish. Because, the statements of Odinga before leaving. Was all praising and willing to build a Industrial Zone in Kisumu in combination of the extended SGR. However, that dream is gone in the wind. The Jubilee and the President couldn’t fix another giant loan for the state to eat. Clearly, he missed the mark. Even if the State House claims he never intended to get it. Why have the meeting and greeting with Museveni before and later travel with a giddy Odinga? That doesn’t make sense to me? Can someone explain that to me, I don’t speak the language of gibberish.

We know there is more than what they say. The State House is trying to deflect it, surely soon Odinga is defending the State House. As the loyal subject he has become. He was planning not only to build a bridge, but also be a part of the belt and road initiative too. That would mean a double pay-off. Kenyatta nevertheless, will surely find another scheme to trick money to his businesses. We are just awaiting it.

The SGR Trick have been the same all along, awaiting the blessing and the nod from Beijing. Hopefully the Jubilee follows this old Chinese Proverb: “Timely return of a loan makes it easier to borrow a second time”.

If not, they might loose more than the good favours and possible loans from them. They might even loose, whatever collateral they made in previous engagement. Also, make it twice as harder to get more loans. Peace.

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Kenya Pipeline Company: Press Statement – KPC Management is Fully Committed to the Fight against Corruption (20.02.2019)

Bank of Uganda: Monetary Policy Statement for February 2019 (07.02.2019)

Preparation for General Election 2020/21: When these budget posts are served extra-funds!

As we are aware and since the National Resistance Movement (NRM) dropped their Road Map for the General Election of 2020/21, the whole system has started to flair up for it. Both with Electoral Reforms and other measures, to secure swift results in favour of the President and secure his cronies. That is just the way it is.

As we will see in the Budget Framework Paper for Financial Year 2019/2020, the government and their agencies are clearly gearing up for elections. As the NRM wants to make sure the appointed and anointed get their cut ahead of scheduled elections.

The first ones whose secured and getting well funded is the Residential District Commanders, they are getting 5,5bn shillings to promote government policies. There is also estimated right before the elections, the state will go from 128 districts in 2018/19 to 135 districts in 2019/2020, there the state has to use more on them just for the need of new RDCs too.

To give RDCs possibility to do their work, the Office of the President has asked for 25.4bn shillings to buy 165 Double Cabin Pickups, but there is only small fry for what is coming up.

The State House itself is gearing up, as the Office of President has asked for an allocation of 741.1bn shillings.. Just to give a feeling of the changes of gear, is that in National Budget Framework for Financial Year 2018/19, alone, the State House got 265,342bn shillings. We can see a significant change ahead of the coming elections.

To top it off, the logistical support, welfare and security to H.E the President, Vice President require 118.38bn shillings. Therefore, the Presidency, the State House and everything concerning that is much more expensive in Election Times and ahead of campaigns. As proven by the Report delivered to the Parliament.

This are just small pieces of what the Committee and what Jesca Ababiku MP delivered the Parliament, as requested to secure funding and also more funds to certain aspects. As it is fitting the elections and the timing for more cash to certain places. We saw it before the General Election in 2016 and is seeing it now. Repeating itself, getting budget for cars and more expenses paid. More funding to the State House and President. Just as programmed. To think otherwise is to be blind to what is up.

This is just what they do, not building institutions or such, but buying to time to linger in Office. Peace.

Reference:

REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON PRESIDENTIAL AFFAIRS ON THE BUDGET FRAMEWORIT FOR F’Y 2OL9/12O – 2023/2024, Parliament of Uganda, January 2019

Jubilee signed off the KPA assets if they default on the loans to China Exim Bank!

The Office of Auditor General letter to Kenyan Ports Authority on the 16th November 2018 has said something striking, but nevertheless something I anticipated, because they stated a fact that everyone should recognize. That the Chinese is not giving toll-free loans without any collateral. In this instance is the loans for the Standard Gauge Railway, which have been a massive White Elephant and is just a doomed project from the get-go. Unless, the Jubilee are able to grow money on trees.

However, the letter from F.T. Kimani to the Ports Authority states that: “The payment arrangement agreement substantively means that the Authority’s revenue would be used to pay the Government of Kenya’s debt to China Exim bank if the minimum volumes required for consignment are not meet as per schedule one. The China Exim bank would become a principle in over KPA if KRC defaults in its obligations and China Exim bank exercise power over the escrow account security. The KPA assets are exposed since the Authority signed the agreement where it has been referred to as a borrower under clause 17.5 any proceeding against its assets by the lender would not be protected by sovereign immunity since the government waived the immunity on the Kenya Ports Assets by signing the agreement. The agreements is biased since any non-performance or dispute with the China Exim bank (the lender) would be referred to arbitration in China, whose fairness is resolving the disagreement may not be guaranteed. The authority did not disclose these guarantee in the financial statement” (Kimani, 16.11.2018).

If you read it, what it states is very clear, if the growing debt to China is not paid on time and defaulted, it means that the Port Authority has to give away its assets or collateral to the China Exim bank, as it is stated in its agreement. This is similar affairs happen in Sri Lanka and now is viable in Kenya. As the Mombasa Port might become an asset for the Belt Road of China to earn back their borrowed funds.

They Government of Kenya, should be worried about when signing the loans from China Exim bank, but they wanted the glory of the giant infrastructure project. Not the fiscal or financial responsibilities, if not the consequences of not paying back the funds. The Chinese has clearly safeguarded the investment with the fine print. Stating the assets of the Port Authority and by this. Securing a vital and important port in East Africa. As they got a nice piece, if the Jubilee starts defaulting or if the next President fails to live up to responsibility that Kenyatta made for him.

That the Kenyans should be worried, because the Chinese is not forgiving, when concerning their money. That is known, the public should know and should anticipate this. As this is a forewarning to the possible aftermath. That has been seen elsewhere and might come to shores close to you. Peace.

Opinion: Odinga explanation of his role doesn’t make sense!

The Building Bridges, the Handshake is really a proof of someone trying to be opposition, but acting as government after all. The Jubilee Government got a lot out of the handshake and that has proven all year round. As the Opposition has no say or no voice. Apparently there are reasons for that and President Uhuru Kenyatta must known he did the best bargain ever. He has nearly no issues, no official opposition as they are co-operating. They are trying to get their cut for working with the government.

That is how it looks like and smells like, that is why these answers are proving that in way, because the denial is there too. Look for yourself.

Raila Odinga answers to an interview:

Power is in government and it is wielded by those who hold the instruments of power such as the president, his deputy and ministers. I am not in government. We are out here as opposition and want to see that the government does the right thing for the people; that is our role as the opposition” (…) “Most people are still stuck in the parliamentary system. In a presidential system like ours, opposition does not have to be adversarial. We now critique quietly. What would be the need of shouting when I can get audience with the right person? We have also set up a joint task force to deal with issues we feel are of concern to us. It would be foolhardy to again begin hitting the same government” (Sunday Nation Reporter – ‘Raila speaks on ‘handshake’ deal and state of Opposition’ 16.12.2018).

What is mind-boggling is that a career and second generation politician are trying to cover up for the co-operation deal, that partly makes him part of the government, even if there is no official position. Because, of that the “Opposition” will not Challenge or Question the Government in public, but behind closed doors. Like if their was alliance or coalition. This is like a non-official “Government of National Unity”, which has been elsewhere.

This government has just made a Building Bridges Task Force. Also when saying that the “opposition” doesn’t have to be adversarial or being vocal against the government. That is maybe why the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and its leadership is super-friendly, close as kin these days. The ODM and Odinga are there in the limelight. They getting awards, they are getting appointed to government boards and medals.

That is maybe why, Odinga is not interested in kicking and screaming, why he is not calling out the Jubilee for their grand corruption or their scandals. The new Odinga is in peace with the President and could look like mates from college. However, they are former adversaries, who now are working closely. That is positive in itself, but at the same time. This is making sure the government got a free slide for this term. As the government has no opposition that matters or challenge them in Parliament or in General. They are an elite, where everyone gets along.

I have a hard to combining this: ‘Calling yourself opposition, but not calling out the government’. I have a hard time, seeing Odinga and the ODM as opposition, as they practically the long arm of the government.

So if your not in the government, why are your doing back-room deals and negotiations as part of the Building Bridges Initiative. Peace.

President Museveni letter to Hon Matia Kasaija: “Re: Massive Tax Evasion and Concealment of Rental Tax” (23.11.2018)

DPP Press Statement on the Application to Bar State Officers Charged with Corruption from remaining in Office pending determination of their cases (04.12.2018)

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