Struggling economy dampens Kenya’s crude oil export fete

In the week that Kenya joined the league of oil-producing countries, the economy showed all signs of decline with more companies reporting losses or slumped profits.

On Monday, President Uhuru was in Mombasa flagging off the first 200,000 barrels of crude oil from Kenya.

The vessel carrying the oil left for Malaysia with UK-based Chinese company, ChemChina, having bought the first batch of the Kenyan crude oil at Sh1.2 billion (USD12 million).

As Uhuru was pushing Kenya into this new league, back in Nairobi four performers at the Nairobi Securities Exchange were reporting a tough first half of the year with over 80 per cent drop in net profit.

Amid a slow down in the country’s economy, increased competition, and a cash crunch, CIC Holdings, NSE, Bamburi Cement and Standard group reported profits, albeit significantly subdued ones.

Speaking to the Star this week, Institute of Economic Affairs chief executive Kwame Owino said while there might not be a “one for all” reason for the slump registered across the firms, it could be used as a telltale sign of the country’s current economic state.

And despite inflation falling down to it lowest in five months and the cost of items on the food basket declined marginally in August compared to July, Kenyans are still paying more compared to the same period last year.

DOMESTIC KILLINGS

Domestic related deaths also continued to rock the headlines with various incidents reported across the country.

On Tuesday, a 36-year-old man who on Monday killed his wife and cut the body into pieces was lynched leaving their four children orphaned.

Peter Ng’ang’a, of Lereshwa village in Kipipiri, Nyandarua County, stuffed the remains of Teresiah Wanjiru in a bag and dumped them in a pit latrine at a deserted nursery school.

Still in Nyandarua, a 32-year-old stabbed the two sons aged eight and six respectively at around 3am Saturday morning before hanging himself inside the house.

On Saturday, detectives in Konoin, Bomet said that they had launched a manhunt of a 28-year-old man who hacked to death his two children on Friday night after a dispute over a 4-kg bale of maize flour with his wife.

The suspect identified as Peter Lang’at, a casual labourer at Siomo tea factory, is said to have hacked his son and a stepson aged four and six years respectively in the 10 pm incident at their Cheptalal home village before fleeing.

A fight between two friends in Naivasha ended on a sour note after one of them stabbed the other with a knife on the stomach leading to his death.

The incident at KCC estate 20kms from Naivasha occurred on Thursday night before the suspect who is a well-known trader fled from the scene.

KIBRA POLITICS

But even with the signs of a struggling economy and broken social fibre, Kenyans are still being drawn into the 2022 political contest with the latest surrounding the upcoming Kibra by-elections.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party threw its hat in the Kibra ring in a move that appeared to throw Raila Odinga’s ODM into a spin.

Since the March 9, 2017 handshake between Uhuru and Raila, the two largest parties have avoided going against each other in previous by-elections.

Jubilee Party kept off the contest in Ugenya and Embakasi South while ODM withdrew its candidate in Wajir West.

In Ugenya and Embakasi South, ODM lost both races where it awarded tickets instead of letting voters decide but Jubilee carried the day in Wajir West.

However, with the 2022 elections fast approaching Deputy President William Ruto’s axis of the Jubilee Party would want to get into a contest with his perceived rivals in the opposition.

Uhuru, the Star has established, was reluctant to challenge ODM for the seat in the area perceived as the opposition’s stronghold.

However, the DP, who has set his eyes on the presidency in 2022, was determined to flex his political muscle and test his clout in the capital city.

The Kibra by-election will not only be Raila’s greatest do-or-die battled in control of Nairobi politics but is also promising to be the greatest test on the handshake.

Speaking to the Star, political analyst and University of Nairobi history lecturer Macharia Munene warned that the former Prime Minister risks suffering a “massive political haemorrhage” if he loses the seat.

“Ruto will want to show his supporters that Raila is not as strong as people believe. He will want to demonstrate that Raila can be beaten in his rural home ground and still be beaten in his Nairobi stronghold, where he has been MP for many years. That would be quite a testimony to Ruto,” political analyst Herman Manyora told the Star.

And still on politics, while Tangatanga movement associated with Ruto’s bid continued to make its countrywide tours, this week, it emerged teams Kieleweke and Wanjiku have stopped their activities after the main financier allegedly pulled out.

It is understood the well oiled political operatives who have been working overtime to scuttle Ruto’s plans to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta felt betrayed by the inability of the two groups to net more members to the fold.

Sources revealed that the same financier funding Kieleweke before shifting to Team Wanjiku closed the taps following a report by the National Intelligence Service that they were not making inroads in countering Ruto and his Team Tangatanga.

The political rivalry now seems to have been left to the women-led groups – Embrace, which supports the handshake between Uhuru and Ruto, and Inua Mama, which is an offshoot of Tangatanga.

KITANY-LINTURI DIVORCE

But the greatest story of the week was the continued public divorce of former Chief of Staff in the office of the Deputy President Marianne Kitany and Meru Senator Mithika Linturi.

Going by Kitany’s court testimony on Wednesday, the saying that the other side of love is hate was frighteningly true. 

The estranged wife of  Meru Senator Mithika Linturi painted a picture a husband both romantic and passionate, cruel and sadistic.

She revealed in open court how Linturi would shower her with gifts and love poems and the same man turned against her and using goons drove her and her children out of their home.

The hearing resumes this week and we can only expect more dirty linen to come up for hanging in public.

ekenyan