Follow Up to Stories

1. Interest Rates:  Much has been written about interest rates this week, and it is all very confusing. In simple terms, interest rates have been rising due to increased government borrowing to bridge the budget deficit. And the final word is that 1) if treasury rates continue to rise, then bank rates (your mortgage, personal loans, auto loans, credit cards) will all rise. (2) The Governor should resign to restore confidence in the Central Bank, and the Government in the market and the banking sector.

2. New Board at KWS: Julius Kipngetich, who gave a great speech last month on investment, has been named the new head of the Kenya Wildlife Services, along with a new board of trustees. It’s an inspired choice, for once, by Minister Tuju, however, I hope he followed all proper procedures. I’d hate to see the new team at KWS halted from taking up their posts by a judge when the previous MD/Board file a lawsuit.

3. The Economist:  I finally got my copy of the end-year Economist (18 December). The article about Kenya is nothing new, just a summary of what has appeared in the daily papers all year – the fight (or lack of) against new corruption, dishonest greedy politicians, the difficult lives of wananchi etc.

The Economist actually reports more rumors than a Nairobi street tabloid e.g. (i) an MP allegedly threatened patrons of a golf club with a gun was banned from the club (ii) a stash of cocaine has been found in the boot of an assistant minister’s car (iii) other colleagues (parliamentarians?) are said to run narcotics rings in Mombasa (iv) serving ministers involved in corruption scandals have gone unpunished (v) many city dwellers are poorer thanks to the agriculture minister’s efforts to help fellow farmers by using state funds to bid up the wholesale price of maize.

What offended me about The Economist is a 3-page piece they did on the power and behaviour of African first ladies (presidential wives). I hesitate to call it racist but it’s definitely in poor taste.

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