I recently heard two people in my pub of choice arguing passionately over whether Uhuru Kenyatta deserves a second term.
The conversation lasted almost an hour and incensed me because, for the most part, the two agreed that Kenya’s economy had gone off a cliff and was plumbing to record lows. The problem with these self-appointed economic analysts, as State House reminded us recently, is that they were selectively picking facts and skewing them to discredit the government.
So, based on his economic competence, no doubt gained from his time as Finance Minister, Uhuru deserves a third term. I come, not to bury him, but to praise the President and recommend that he begins plans to change the Constitution in order to run for a third term.
First, the dollar. The Jubilee government promised us growth, and they have delivered. The shilling has grown from a paltry Sh85.4 in March 2013 to almost Sh105 against the dollar. That is double-digit growth, which the Deputy President William Ruto promised while campaigning.
Kenya’s deficit and debt have also grown to unprecedented highs and this shows the confidence that creditors have in our government’s economic management. Would foreigners loan to us so generously if we didn’t have a competent government?
The fact that our Sh200 billion bond was oversubscribed is proof that our economy is sound. Even the Opposition, which is undoubtedly funded by foreign powers jealous of our peace and security, admits these facts.
The government has recently resorted to issuing Treasury Bills of 20 per cent to pay the interest on the loans that were borrowed on lower rates. We borrow loans to cover the interest on bigger loans.
This is obviously a brilliant move. The government clearly wants to democratise access to credit and to roll out the fruits of our growth to as many people as possible.
Who also better to loan money to than the government, which always has your best interests at heart?
Banks, meanwhile, have raised loan rates to extortionate levels due to increased government borrowing. This clearly shows the high level of morality at the heart of our government.
The Bible repeatedly warns us against debts and Islam is similarly vocal on the hazards of the practice. Mindful that 95 per cent of the country identifies as religious, the government is trying to remind us to keep our riches in heaven rather than accumulating debts on earth by ensuring we cannot afford to borrow.
The decision not to pay teachers their September salaries is clearly strategic. Studies from Britain show that domestic violence is more likely to happen around payday as couples squabble over how to spend their money.
This government, which is clearly the most gender-sensitive in our history, has heard the cries of battered women across the country and decided to halt domestic violence by stopping TSC, the nation’s biggest employer, from disbursing salaries and sowing discord in previously tranquil homes.
In your times of doubt, after listening to propaganda from the enemies of the state, you may wonder how a country can afford to borrow Sh300 billion to build a railway and not be in a position to borrow Sh20 billion to pay teachers. But, clearly, you are financially illiterate, have never been a Finance minister, or even been entrusted with the Sunday collection in your local church.
Small loans attract higher interest than big ones. An M-Shwari loan is more expensive than any mortgage. It is bad economics to go around borrowing small sums to pay teachers who only end up quarrelling with their spouses because of the money.
The government has also, in its infinite wisdom, decided to mitigate the effect of the month-long teachers’ strike by ensuring that national examination papers are available for purchase on WhatsApp across the country.
It was selfish of teachers to demand their rights at an inconvenient time just when students were just about to sit their exams. It is nice that the government is working to correct this by making available exam papers to all before the exam. I hope I am not mistaken, but this is surely part of the Open Government programme I keep hearing about.
The NSE 20 Share Index is also down 23 per cent from this time last year. The entire stock market is down 15 per cent over the same period. Some people, who can best be described as communists, enemies of development and trouble makers, would suggest this is bad. But these people could not even be trusted to run a fish market.
The reason the stock market is doing so badly is that investors, rather than speculate on stocks, are investing in real things like National Youth Service contracts. This is clearly a sign of confidence and part of the government’s promise to make tenders available to all.
The fact that only two per cent of the budget can be accounted for is also a good sign. Accountancy firms, whose profits had begun to dip, will get jobs looking for where the money went to.
This is part of the government’s decision to create jobs in the private sector.
Some have even claimed that Imperial Bank going into receivership will send jitters across the banking system and discourage investors. This is socialist nonsense. Jubilee was elected on a strong anti-Imperial stance.
We thumb our noses at Western Imperialism and its bastions closer home. Until Central Bank gives us more details on the matter, we can safely conclude that this is a strike against imperialists everywhere for the havoc they have created in the country with this ICC nonsense.
Kenya is undergoing a period of unprecedented growth and prosperity and we are now a model African nation. We are again the peers of Singapore when it comes to financial management. Uhuru deserves a second and third term. #TwoIsNotEnough
CHINA BLAZES THE TRAIL WITH WORLD’S FIRST GENETICALLY MODIFIED DOGS
Scientists in China have created the world’s first genetically modified dogs. The dogs have twice as much muscle as normal dogs and were created by deleting a gene that inhibits muscle growth —myostatin —from their DNA. This isn’t the first case of an animal being genetically modified by scientists in China. Goats, rabbits, rats, and monkeys have all been modified in Chinese research labs using new gene editing methods in the past 12 months.
It is also possible to edit human genes. In April this year a Chinese group of scientists from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou confirmed they had genetically engineered human embryos to modify the gene responsible for the fatal blood type of anaemia called thalassemia in order to see if they could eliminate the disease before birth.
The experiment was not accurate and the resulting embryo was not implanted in a woman due to ethical reasons. Why are all these cases happening in China?
Is it only the Chinese government that is so untroubled by potential public blowback that its scientists are able to experiment with humanity’s newest tools?
NTSA HAS LOTS OF DATA ON LOCAL ACCIDENTS, AND IT WANTS TO SELL IT
During a recent presentation by the Open Government initiative, National Transport and Safety Authority director of ICT Fernando Wangila announced that the organisation would be selling traffic accident statistics to two insurance companies.
The NTSA collects detailed statistics on traffic every day that would be useful to insurance companies. It knows the details of those who have died, what was the state of the cars involved, and it follows all accident victims for 30 days after the event to monitor their recovery.
This means the organisation has more detailed information on accidents than even the Kenya Police, and the application of these insights into general and life insurance is invaluable, which is why it is being put under the hammer.
The question is whether Kenyans want this data available to insurance companies. If the data sold, it would be easier for those companies to adjust their premiums to reflect increased analysis of risk, and this risks creating a class of people so risky that they are uninsurable in both life policies and driving.
Do people want this? Also, shouldn’t the NTSA ask people about this move before selling the data?