Algeria


BBC Reports..

 

Difficult tasks await Kenyan MPs

By Karen Allen
BBC News, Nairobi

It had all the pageantry and trappings of a state ceremony.

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga arrive at parliament

The two leaders agreed the power-sharing deal last week

The national anthem, the guard of honour, the ceremonial dress – but this was a unique opening of parliament.

Kenya’s lawmakers are under the spotlight in a way never seen before.

Kenyans still stunned by post-election violence are vesting their trust in leaders in a country where in the recent past, they have been badly let down.

More than half of the members of parliament are newcomers and they will be expected to hit the ground running, to turn up to vote and pave the way for a historic coalition.

A coalition aimed at restoring unity to what the president described as “one Kenya”.

Stumbling blocks

It was a week to the day that a power-sharing deal had been agreed between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

They shook hands in the presence of the world’s media, flanked by Kofi Annan and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.

Opening of Kenyan parliament 6/03/08
The new parliament began with two minutes of silence

That was just the start of a process. In the coming weeks lawmakers will be expected to enact legislation that will amend the constitution and allow a grand coalition to be formed.

They then have to try to “sell” the idea of power sharing to their constituents, among them people who are now homeless or who have lost loved ones in the violence.

There are still potential stumbling blocks ahead – in particular, how power will be shared and how cabinet posts and other senior positions will be allocated.

But for Thursday’s ceremony the tone was conciliatory and upbeat.

After a two minute silence – first for parliamentarians killed in post-election violence and then for “ordinary” Kenyans who lost their lives, President Kibaki rose to his feet.

In a 30-minute speech he stressed the need for last week’s peace accord to be quickly enacted into law, but warned that it would require “goodwill, unity, good faith and integrity” of Kenya’s lawmakers.

Awkward realities

This country is emerging from one of the darkest periods of its history and the coming weeks will be a real test of the commitment of all sides to a durable peace.

A member of the Kikuyu Mungiki gang threatens a man with a machete in Nairobi's Kibera slum, 10 January 2008

Some 1,500 people died in unrest after disputed poll results

Kenyans will be forced to confront some awkward realities with the establishment of a truth, justice and reconciliation commission to investigate past injustices and violence blamed on supporters on all sides of the political fence.

They will also be forced to compromise.

There are concerns that a grand coalition will rob Kenyans of a real opposition.

This has effectively been a deal between two political blocks – those supporting President Kibaki’s PNU and those backing Raila Odinga’s ODM.

Earlier in the day, diplomats insisted the onus would be on the media to help keep the government in check.

But what is clear is that this could be the start of a new pragmatism in Kenyan politics. A chance for a new breed of politician to shine, putting aside a past where winner takes all.

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It is always necessary to know who your competitors are … the Zambian Enterprise has some very serious ones when it comes to being the best destination for investment capital from around the world. 

There is limited cash flow around but unlimited competitors and so new aggressive means and ways have to be available for our Enterprise to increase its competitive advantage.  

The first thing in knowing what needs to be done is identifying those competitors, analyze their strengths and weaknesses then find a way to undercut them.

It is doggy world out there and if we have to be at the cutting edge of this competition, we have to diverse some serious strategic plans to help us achieve out objectives. 

Believe it or not our business unit at the Zambian Chronicle has identified some serious competitors; some in our own backyard while others are up north. Those in our backyard include, Mozambique whose real GDP has been growing at a rate 2% higher than ours.  

This is a serious pace especially that if you considered the fact that US and the Mexican economies were the same in terms of GDP a hundred years ago. However, the US economy was growing at a pace of 1% higher than the Mexican economy and when you factor in power of compounding, the US outpaced Mexico and the rest is history. 

Another serious competitor remains South Africa. To its merit, South Africa can’t be considered a third world nation and capital inflows continue to outpace those of the Zambian Enterprise.

The other nation in our backyard is Angola while Congo’s instability makes us a better destination despite its potential. Up north, Tunisia and Algeria are very serious contenders but for different reasons that can be copied and implemented to help us compete with them. So, here are some things we can do to increase our competitive advantage. 

Ø       Create a tax free zone; choose a province where there are less economic activities and target it as a tax free zone for the next 10 to 15 years. This could be Western, Eastern or Luapula Provinces for instance, just pick one or two. Malaysia did this at the turn of the century and today houses the world’s tallest building even before 911 happened.

Ø       Encourage remittances from nationals living abroad. One reason South Africa, Algeria and Tunisia are outpacing us is because remittances from their nationals living abroad were almost as high as FDI (foreign Direct Investment). In fact, the largest recipients of remittances last year were not the traditional South American countries, it was Sub-Saharan Africans. 

Ø       Lower taxes including VAT if necessary. Lower taxes encourage tax payers to declare more reasonable taxes and discourage tax evasion. This also helps broaden the tax base while those tax savings are easily turned into new investment ventures thereby encourage and or increasing productivity. 

Ø       Deliberate government investment into infra-structure development. One reason Zambia is more attractive is because of its political stability but its greatest disadvantage is lack of infra-structure. Government spending has a multiplier effect seven times larger than that of the private sector. 

Ø       Over 44% of our population lives in urban areas, this is a great asset when compared to Mozambique, Angola and Congo for instance. This is because it would be easier for the Zambian Enterprise to turn this human capital into a highly productive machine than our competitors. 

Our business unit at the Zambian Chronicle will continue to explore more ways as we research issues that will help our Zambian Franchise to be a shining star, because Zambia Is Greater Than Any Single One Of Us … thanks a trillion. 

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle

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