23 December 2008

One Year Later, and the Ramifications of Last Years Elections are Still Felt

Revealed: The full cost of poll violence
The full impact of the post-election violence on the economy was on Monday laid bare in a Government report, which lists tourism, manufacturing, transport and agriculture as the sectors which declined most. The report by the National Bureau of Statistics also says that the economy will grow by only 2.1 per cent this year and not the 6.3 per cent that the Government had projected. This means that there will be increased unemployment and that businesses in key sectors will not reap as handsome profits as they did last year.

Experts said the effects of violence were likely to haunt Kenya for a long time to come. The situation has been worsened by the global economic slowdown which has hit hitherto strong economies like the US and EU. According to the Bureau of Statistics, tourism was the biggest loser, declining by 34.7 per cent. Hoteliers are feeling the pinch the most as the number of visitors has declined significantly. It was followed by agriculture, which fell by 4.7 per cent this year yet it had declined marginally by 0.3 per cent last year. The decline in agriculture is already being felt in the rising food prices and the shortage of maize, which has compelled the Ministry of Agriculture to seek the importation of three million bags of maize.

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Why Kibaki may have to recall Parliament
The resolve by President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to have suspected architects of the post-election violence tried locally is set to motivate an early recall of Parliament to pass laws setting up the Special Tribunal for Kenya. Reports suggest that President Kibaki is likely to recall the House on January 20, 2009. This week, the two leaders signed a pact to set up the tribunal. Had they failed to sign the agreement by last Wednesday, the suspects would have been left exposed for a possible trip to the International Criminal Court at The Hague in Netherlands. Chief Mediator Kofi Annan, while acknowledging the commitment by the President and the PM, has however dashed any hopes of extension of the deadline set by the Justice Waki Commission in a bid to ensure those behind the violence that left 1, 133 people dead and at least 350,000 displaced are brought to book.

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Experts: Growth prospects slim
Kenya may not achieve its annual economic growth target of four per cent, experts have warned. The country would not recover soon especially from the effects of post-election violence, said Kenya National Bureau of Statistics director general Antony Kilele. His statement came only a day after KNBS released growth estimates for the third quarter of this year. On Tuesday, Mr Kilele told Nation that with the world moving into a recession resulting from the global financial crunch, Kenyans can only pray that things get fixed. “We might not achieve even the projected four per cent annual growth given the dismal performance of the last three quarters. We only hope the global mechanisms being put in place work.” The first quarter growth for Kenya had been revised upwards to negative 1.0 per cent as the economy seems to have rebounded in the second quarter of 2008, during which it is estimated to have expanded by 3.2 per cent.

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