The news headlines this week have been depressing:
1. The price of Kenya's staple food; maize flour has tripled since the beginning of the year. This is not due to a shortage of maize but worse, corruption and manipulation at a high level. When the food crisis was discussed in Parliament yesterday it transpired that the root cause of skyrocketing prices might well be down to MPs who have formed a cartel, buying maize from the National Cereal Produce Board then reselling it to millers at hugely inflated prices. The brave MP John Mbadi was thrown out of the house for making unsubstantiated accusations, then refusing to apologise: 'The leaders of this country are making our people suffer. Some members pushing for the Grand Opposition and some sitting here are behind this.' There seems to be no resolution as yet. The price of a bag of maize reached it's highest price at 120 Kenya shillings last week, whereas earlier in the year it cost less than 50 bob.
2. MPs have voted to block the taxation of their pay and allowances. Surprise, surprise. They are therefore denying the economy Kenya shillings 600 million per year. Kenyans are outraged but ultimately powerless though the media are ranting in fury. Their 'Grand Coalition' Government are a Grand disappointment, greedy and self serving. I question why Kenya goes on receiving so much foreign aid money when it continues to be run by a bunch of crooks. A precious few MPs have spoken out and said they are willing to be taxed but I doubt if they will ever have to put their money where their mouth is. There may be a demonstration led by civil society on Dec 12th if the MPs refuse to reconsider their position on the taxation issue. Watch this space if you have the stamina.
3. The clock is ticking on the implimentation of the Waki Report where those who masterminded post election violence at the beginning of the year will be brought to justice either in Kenya or at the Hague. Mr Justice Waki listed six cabinet ministers and five MPs as well as prominent businessmen then handed an envelope containing their names to Kofi Annan for safe keeping. December 17th is the deadline to put together an internal tribunal, if not Annan will pass the information on to the International Criminal Court at the Hague. MP William Ruto has threatened to leave Raila Odinga's ODM party if the Waki Report is implimented. Political wranglings continue as government officials disagree on a way to proceed on this matter. Most Kenyans (according to a Steadman poll) would like to see the Waki report implimented though many fear violence may flare up in the country again as a result. Kenyans also predict that there will be a repeat of violence at the 2012 election if the Waki Report is brushed under the carpet.