The 22nd of September is World Rhino Day,it is in commemoration of this animal facing increasing threat from humans because of its horn or rather what it is believed its horn can do.Some people believe that the horn has medicinal properties ,what they forget is that its horn is madeup of the same stuff as our nails-Keratin.
But as the conservation world honored these endangered species,another kind of “species” is facing threats of a different kind.
The Kenyan shilling was on a free fall against the dollar and at the close of business today it missed the 100 shilling mark against the dollar by 80 cents.
Not many people are keenly following the battering our economy is taking from market forces as we are either glued to the confirmation hearings at the ICC,fixated on the never-ending soap operas or keenly following the English football teams.
We are also still recovering from the tragic events at the Sinai slums where so far 100 lives were lost,and a 100 more are still admitted in hospital recovering from extensive burns.Read the story here.
What is on offer on Kenyan TV today has numbed us to what is happening outside in the real world.In the midst of all the TV shows we seem to be blissfully unaware we are staring at en election barely a year from now.And with the volatile climate that characterises Kenyan politics,only one no,several things will suffer.First will be the economy,then the Kenyan household budgets and the final election outcome will be as a result of several guiding factors other than the economy which at the moment should be in the HDU (High Dependency Unit)of a major private hospital.
We aren’t talking about what is happening on the economic front and a clear sign of our ignorance in matters economic is the way our business news on prime time tv is structured.
Business news is barely given 15 minutes of tv time,politics,tragedies,political sideshows are always headline news in all major news channels.They take up a chunk of the one hour most media houses devote to their prime time news.
Secondly business news is always presented using terms that make no sense to the ordinary Kenyan who is more worried about the price of a litre of fuel than if the market was “bearish”.Either the news editors think we are ignorant and are not bothered to enlighten us or maybe they enjoy listening to themselves.
After the President signed the Price Control Bill that is meant to cushion Kenyans against unreasonable pricing of essential commodities like maize and wheat flour,cooking oil,sugar,rice and fuel we received a rude awakening.A few hours after signing of the bill Kenyans woke up to a rude shock-milk,bread and sugar prices were increased by the dairy companies and millers.
The hydro power distribution company Kenya power also added its weight on the already overburdened Kenyan household by saying that it would be increasing the fuel levy on its monthly electricity bills…again.
Almost half of the Kenyan population either lives on the poverty line or is teetering on the edge of absolute poverty.When the prices of basic commodities like maize flour and paraffin are increased you are condemning these people to a life of hell.
Our unemployment rate,which no politician ever talks about, stands at about 40% as of 2008,now in 2011 it must be higher.What will happen when manufacturers and other related companies close shop citing difficult economic conditions,rising cost of power and an unfavourable political climate?Already some companies are seeing red over the unpredictable economic climate,just ask Eveready the dry cell battery manufacturers and the flower companies that have moved to Ethiopia.
Companies are having to dig deeper into their pockets to cover payroll cost and other overheads as well as try to stay afloat in the competitive market.If the trend continues and the shilling continues sliding downwards some will have to choose between letting go of some of their employees or folding up altogether.
And when these employees lose their jobs,crime and insecurity will increase because somehow these men and women with families will have to feed their chidren.Some will join the marauding gangs of carjackers and robbers that give the Kenyan police sleepless nights.
Crime and insecurity remain the dragons our law enforcement officers have been unable to slay.
As surely as the sun will rise tomorrow the Kenyan shilling is going to hit the 100 shilling mark sooner than you can say ICC.Fuel prices will be adjusted upwards,fare on public transport will go up again, manufacturers will cite rising operations costs and hike the price of basic goods,our power bills will go up and more Kenyans will join the millions already classified as poor.
It is a circle.
I know paint a gloomy picture but things do not look to rosy or sunny either from where I am sited.