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Commentary

 

Kenya Crisis: Deal at Last?

What does the
future hold?
To many Kenyans, Thursday February 28th 2008 will go down many Kenyans' minds as the first day of a prolonged year end.  The new power deal signed between Orange Democratic Movement's (ODM) Raila Odinga and Party of National Unity's (PNU) Mwai Kibaki brings to an end to what most Kenyans have been yearning for almost every passing minute.This is apparently the first time in Africa that such a deal has been brokered by opposing politicians.

The deal has set a new chapter to Kenya's beaten economy. Tourism for example requires at least US$. 20million to achieve the growth it had experienced in the third quarter of next year.  The stock market lost over 5 percent in three months.

A day after the deal was made public, the market gained on all counters at the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE).After the signing of the deal, the president was upbeat: 'Sasa wageni waje wajienjoy,' (visitors can now come and have fun) he said, while referring to the tourism industry.  The ministry of finance has quickly moved in to cut down on costs by 40 percent on all ministries and further freeze all projects until the next financial year.  Good start indeed.

With that in mind however, a number of questions rise; for one, how sustainable is this deal? And even worse, what repercussions would a disagreement elicit?  With the parliament set to reopen on Thursday, who takes on as the official opposition?  On another note, how would the powerful ministerial positions be split owing to the fact that majority of them had already been allocated to PNU members of parliament (Kibaki's Party)?

Adding to the complexity of the matrix is the third party in the previous general elections- ODM-Kenya's Kalonzo Musyoka who had already been given a Vice President's post after getting into a coalition with the alleged winner, Mwai Kibaki.  With a President, Prime Minister and two deputies, the Vice President's post is purely a shell.  Could that mark the beginning of a new opposition?  Only time can tell.

The prayer of every Kenyan is that peace prevails;  tension is cooled and the constitution is rapidly  but carefully amended to accommodate all changes proposed. We also hope that Hon. Raila Odinga, Mr. Michuki (the Public Works Minister), and Martha Karua (Justice and Governance Minister) will sit on the same table and discuss key issues of interest.  We also hope that in the 50/50 sharing spirit, Mr. Amos Kimunya (Finance minister) will not fuss should  Mr.William Ruto of ODM be given the slot.

Jendayi Frazer, US Deputy Secretary of State for African Affairs warned of complexities in the power sharing deal. Although optimism reigns, a mistake from either side could be disastrous. For businesspeople, the most one can do is reap while the situation is favorable.  You never know when the craving will strike.  After all, a politician is always a politician.

 

 



By Michael Musau
CEO Emerging Africa Capital
Licensed by The Capital Markets Authority as Investment Advisers


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