18
Jan
08

Can economic boycotts help Kenya?

Once again Kenya is leading the BBC World Service news bulletin, and it’s the top story on the international version of the web site, and on the Have Your Say discussion pages, where the question is “How can Kenya recoup stability?”.

Also in the headlines is the slump in global stock markets which is being fed by fears of a recession in the US. Later today, President Bush is expected to outline his proposals for a package to revitalise the American economy. Are you worried about the economy in the year ahead?

On Kenya, in the meeting yesterday we talked a lot about Kenya, but came to the conclusion that we would hear pretty much what we heard two weeks’ ago.

But is that the case today? The opposition to President Kibaki says it will change its tactics to use economic boycotts and strikes to put pressure on the government. Will that work? In an international parallel, the European Parliament has called on the European Union to suspend budgetary support to the Kenyan government – do economic boycotts ever work?

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is in Beijing where he’s talking up trade between the UK and China. He set the tone for the visit by declaring that China-UK relations were better than ever but is being accused of ignoring human rights. Is economics trumping values?

And what about Russia. Britain’s relations with Moscow are certainly not better than ever. What’s the best way to resolve the dispute over the British Council (among other things)?

And a final think to think about this morning (well, I’m sure you have plenty of other things to think about – and please let us know if we should be thinking about them as well) is are the Taleban winning? – at least in Peshawar in Pakistan. Have a read of this from the New York Times.


24 Responses to “Can economic boycotts help Kenya?”


  1. 1 George
    January 18, 2008 at 11:38

    This is one country economic boycott can work in and should be applied universally, especially including all banks.

    Boycotting oil producing countries is like trying to stop a river with your hand.

    Boycotting Kenya should remove economic function in Kenya, promoting the dictator exit.

  2. 2 Paul Orikushaba
    January 18, 2008 at 11:39

    Economic boycotts have not helped a single country in Africa. Look at Zimbabwe; since the introduction of economic and travel sanctions, what has been the result. Has the ordinary Zimbabwian felt any relief or its additing an insult to an injury. The votes in kenya were stollen in broadday-light – even the international observers confirmed this. The boycott will never affect Kibaki or other politicians in his “eating circle”. Kibaki should just go and leave kenyans in peace.

  3. 3 Mohammed Ali
    January 18, 2008 at 11:48

    The question is has economic boycotts ever help political crisis in Africa or else were in the world, not to my knowledge.It has not help in Zimbabwe, Iran, Burma, just to name a few and it did not help in Iraq. Economic boycotts only further increase the sufferings of the downthrodden masses who live in the slums.
    Since it has become clear that kibaki will not give up though he did not win the election, it will be honourable to talk Odinga out of everything for the sake of the stability of Kenya and the rest of East Africa.

  4. January 18, 2008 at 11:53

    The Government of Kibaki should be ostracized and punished for the obvious steeling of the votes of the crushing majority of Kenyan people. It’s astounding the deafening silence around the shooting of protesters yesterday. Where are the adepts of spreading democracy and freedom throughout the world? why aren’t we listening to the same rhetoric as that surrounding the Mugabe regime, or Darfur and so on and so forth…

  5. 5 Uzondu Esionye
    January 18, 2008 at 12:43

    I am now starting to cast doubts over the present Kenyan Administration.signals coming out of there for me, seems like we actually do not know who won the elections, So I think there should be a re-run of the presedential elections.Yes Economic boycotts will show the Administration that it lacks credibility,so I think that is a first good step.

  6. 6 CHAWEZI PHIRI
    January 18, 2008 at 12:45

    ELSE WHERE IN THE WORLD VISAVISA ZIMBABWE HAS BEEN CAUGHT IN SIMILAR SITUATIONS AND WE HAVE SEEN NO CHANGES AT ALL WITH THE MUGABE REGIME AND THIS WILL BE A SIMILAR SITUATION WITH THE KIBAKI REGIME. MOST AFRICAN LEADERS NEVER LEARN FROM HISTORY. SO WHATEVER ODINGA AND HIS CO-OPPOSITION WILL DO WILL NOT MOVE KIBAKI EVEN AN INCH AND THE PEOPLE WHO WILL FEEL THE PINCH OF THE SALT WILL BE KENYANS WHO LIVE IN THE SLAMS WHILE KIBAKI AND ODINGA WINE AND DINE IN THEIR FINE MANSIONS. AND WHAT THE EUROPEAN UNION IS TRYING TO DO WILL JUST WORSEN THE DEEPER CRISIS IN KENYA.
    THE NOWADAYS CROP OF AFRICAN LAEDERS ARE JUST HARD A NUT TO CRACK WHEN IT COMES TO SUCH PRESSURES LIKE MASS PROTESTS AND OTHER FORMS OF STRIKES. ITS JUST MY PRAYER THAT THE KENYAN ARMY SHOULD JUST COME IN TO SAVE THE FACE OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA. ELSE WHERE IN ENGLAND IN ONE OF THE ROOMS ITS WRITTEN, “WITHOUT A WAR PEOPLE WILL NOT COME TO THE TABLES TO DISCUSS THE PROBLEM; SO WAR IS THE ONLY SOLUTION.” THERE IS A FAIR AND REASONABLE SENSE IN THIS SENTENCE. WHENEVER PEOPLE ARE AT LOGGERHEADS ITS VERY DIFFICULT FOR SUCH PEOPLE TO COME TO THE ROUND TABLE AND FIND A WAY FORWARD AND IT HAS PROVED ELSE WHERE IN THE WORLD THAT WHEN PEOPLE START TO FIGHT THE UNITED NATIONS IN WASHINGTON DC START TO BANG HEADS AND TABLES TO FIND SOLUTIONS – WHY NOT FIND SOLUTIONS TO KENYAN PROBLEMS THAN LATER.
    SO FOR ECONOMIC BOYCOTTS IN KENYA IN SOME CERTAIN LEVELS OF COURSE IT CAN HELP BUT LARGELY IT WONT HELP KENYANS AT ALL. THERE IS NO ONE IN THE WORLD (EXCEPT MAYBE THE DEADS) WHO DOESN’T KNOW THAT IN KENYA THERE IS A DEEPER CRISIS TAKING CENTERSTAGE. THE ELECTIONS, THEY ARE SAYING ARE THE PROBLEM – VOTE RIGGING. EVEN THE KENYAN ELECTRAL ELECTIONS CHAIRMAN IN HIS OWN WORDS AND I QUOTE: “WE KNOW SOMEONE IS SITTING ON THESE VOTES AND WE ARE GOING TO ANNOUNCE WHATEVER WE HAVE HERE AT THE TALLY CENTRE.” THESE WERE THE WORDS COMING FROM THE KENYAN ELECTRAL COMMISSION CHAIRMAN AND NOT FROM ODINGA’S OR KIBAKI’S MOUTH. SO MY QUESTION TO HIM, MR CHAIRMAN – WHO WAS DOING THE WRONG DOING BETWEEN KIBAKI AND ODINGA?
    WHATEVER SENTIMENTS WE HAVE FOR THE KIBAKI GOVERNMENT RIGHT NOW LIES IN THE HANDS OF THE KENYAN ARMY. THE ARMY COMMANDER, SHOULD JUST TAKE OVER THE GOVERNMENT AND HHAND OVER POWER IN SIX OR SEVEN MONTHS TO THE LEGITMATE WINNER SOMETIME IN OCTOBER 2008 RATHER KIBAKI STEPPING DOWN AND DOING FRSH ELECTIONS IN MARCH OR MAYBE GOING TO THE STREETS AND PROTESTING AND THE ECONOMIC BOYCOTTS BY THE WESTERN COUNTRIES WONT HELP TO ALLEVIATE THE PROBLEM OTHERWISE IT WILL JUST EXCALATE THE SITUATION INTO A TIGHT CORNER AND THIS WILL BE BAD FOR THE KENYAN CITIZENS INCLUDING KIBAKI AND ODINGA THEMSELVES.

  7. 7 Malindi01
    January 18, 2008 at 12:50

    The five years under President Kibaki has seen a massive increase in tax collected. For example the free secondary school education can be paid for by the taxes of the petroluem sector for October and November alone where there was evasion on a major scale. 90% of the budget is financed from taxes. And the tax authority is far from top gear in collection, well below half its potention. Indeed they are only getting warm. Economic boycotts will only serve to improve terms of trade. AN economist at State House is what we need. Fancy ten years of his tenure and even the successor will not undo the momentum.

  8. 8 A Kirui
    January 18, 2008 at 12:55

    In African setting where leaders rig elections openly; and further intimidate protesters by use of live rounds, I believe a ‘Quiet’ protest like boycotts could speak louder…..

  9. 9 John D. Anthony
    January 18, 2008 at 13:20

    Peter~
    I think you’re right about Kenya. Been there, done that…. although it seems there are still some strong opinions out there.
    Economic outlook in the U.S. is going to get you buried with e-mails from this side of the pond, as will economics trumping values (but it’s easy to predict what you’ll hear on that).
    And most of us are sick of hearing about the Taliban.

  10. 10 Brett
    January 18, 2008 at 14:00

    On the US economic downturn and Bush’s upcomming plans… It makes me nervous that Bush is going to do anything with the economy that he thinks will help it.
    *sigh* At least he will ensure the top 1% of the US population who are wealthy are sure to be helped by Bush. Thats better than nothing, right?

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  11. 11 rosatkins
    January 18, 2008 at 15:39

    Hello WHYS?

    Economic sanctions do not or will NEVER affect “President” Mr. Mwai Kibaki. He buys with the government’s dollar. Sanctions will affect me and my fellow country men. KENYA and KENYANS will die once sanctioned. Look at ZIMBABWE…

    Are there alternatives from International community apart from sanctions? SOMETHING that DEALS with KIBAKI and the cronies not innocent KENYANS.
    Jared in Kampala

  12. January 18, 2008 at 17:04

    There are many solution of this political crisis if parties concerned show their patience and tolrance.

    In the present time ruling and opposition should negotiate on the following point which has concerne to the horrible situation.

    In the first instance president should resign that is in favour of security of the people and the country.

    Establishment of election authority must be consisting of undisputed high profiles like justices of the apex court.

    Re-election in the country has become a dire need of the day which must be carried out as soon as possible.

    For controling all the activities a impartial transitional set up be established in the centre.

    In this way Kenya can be taken out from this horrible bloodletting crisis.

  13. 13 VictorK
    January 18, 2008 at 17:18

    There’s no genocide in Kenya. What happens there is therefore nobody’s concern but Kenyans’. Western nations need to learn to mind their own business and stop intefering or threatening to interfere in the affairs of other countries (and what mandate, by the way, has Gordon Brown to be ruling Britain?). African politics are blighted by ‘bad loser syndrome’, where the losing party automatically claims the election was stolen – regardless of whether or not it was – as a way of gaining – through hoped for concessions to avoid public disorder – a share of the power that it couldn’t win on its own electoral merits. Africans didn’t want foreign help for the more serious Darfur conflict; they shouldn’t expect it for the relatively unimportant situation in Kenya.

    And why does the European Union give so much as a penny of ‘budgetary support’ to Kenya. It is not for the government (i.e. the unwilling taxpayers) of one country to financially prop up the government of another. This, like the EU’s funding of the Palestinian Authority, is an abuse of EU taxpayers, none of whom have mandated the organs of the EU to spend their money on anything but EU-specific projects.

    Gordon Brown is, of course, a hypocrite. He makes a song and dance about human rights under Robert Mugabe and then gets cosy with the Beijing dictatorship, even though they continue to occupy and exploit Tibet (what happens in China-proper regarding human rights is no concern of any non-Chinese). Characteristic Western hypocrisy and double-standards: rave about human rights in Zimbabwe because Marxist economics have bankrupted that country and made it unprofitable to foreigners and Zimbabweans alike; but maintain complete silence about China’s miserable human rights record, because that country is a coming economic power whose trade and investment could be worth many billions.

    The matter of the British Council will be resolved when the British government accepts that on sovereign Russian soil the authority of the Russian government is absolute. There is no justice in their demand for the Council to cease its activities, but that’s not the point. There is no contesting the will of a sovereign state in such a matter.

    If the Taliban are not winning (in Afghanistan – Peshawar is just a sideshow) they soon will be. As mad as they are, they happen to be motivated by the two most powerful forces in human nature: patriotism and religious faith. The occupiers of Afghanistan are motivated by nothing more than the superficial claptrap and lies of politicians, in defence of a cause that must seem to them as vague as it is unattainable. Going to war when one’s vital national interests are not at stake is a formula for defeat.

  14. 14 Phoebe
    January 18, 2008 at 19:18

    Economic boycott will only punish the common man, who are about 85% of the Kenyan population. Instead, I would reccomend that the EU utilize well established Non-Governmental Organizations in Kenya to redirect monies to Rural Development projects specifically – Clean Water, Education, Education, Education, Farming – food prodcution, good infrastructure to marginalized communities. Keep the money away from the big sharks in the govt, I believe this can be done.

    I was born in Kenya and grew up there, I received a good education and love my country dearly. I would like to specifically emphasize on schools educating students on human rights and encourage free speech. There is a lot of anger in the country and people must be allowed to express their greivances through peaceful means. Reconciliation forums must be encouraged, in schools, community centers, at the work place, churches, mosques and temples. What you see is anger that has been building up for decades.

    I am still very optimistic that Kenya will get through this, though badly bruised economically

  15. 15 Anne
    January 19, 2008 at 11:37

    Economic boycott will not work in Kenya. Firstly, the international community should know that the government of Kenya can finance up to 95 % of its budget. As to the 5% deficit, they can either borrow from the domestic market or countries and companies who are friends of Kenya. BTW, even the donor aid money that is flowing to Kenya is very little anyway.

    And for ODM, boycotting Brookside, City Hopper, etc. Firstly, we have to analyse the structure of the market. In Central province, Eastern provice and Nairobi to name a few, I bet brookside will still sell. I guess the Western part of Kenya will put up their own company to package milk which is good for competition anyway. For City Hopper, fine, I guess it would benefit a lot of people who doesn’t need to queue.

    The lesson is those members of the international community, please open your eyes to the reality. We have a big agenda to alleviate poverty in Africa. Democracy is a creation of the West and not necessarily a tool to lift millions of people out of poverty

  16. January 19, 2008 at 12:00

    Kibaki should be pragmatic and go home. He is simply not in control of anything. why he clings on to power baffles me and millions of other Kenyans.

  17. January 19, 2008 at 19:51

    The leaders of the Kibaki mentality and other corrupt to the hilt careless about the over 10 million poor, illiterate, hungry living in worst slums ever with no sanitation, running water, shelter or other basic needs of life. That status quo has gotten worst since independence when the British were forced to leave on account of their own economic reasons and problems.

    The new corrupt to the hilt masters allowed the infrastructure to deteriorate to hell along with worst ever, use abuse and exploitation of the poor masses. Perhaps an African destiny but not without ramifications. Since the fraud election the country is already at a stand still, while the west sits and shuttle the usual diplomats for so called peaceful resolution. The present Kenya was born through a violent revolution and perhaps revolution is what it will take to fix the mess. The simple solution is to rid the country of the self interest and self righteous politicians who have bled the country to death.

    The so called police and military is paid to kill their own kind and maintain the status quo. The tribal problem is a minor issue as compared to the overall misuse of power, mismanagement of public funds and the so called executive privilege, All the looted, plundered and misappropriated money by the thugs is held in private accounts in the west. The leaders of the west can force these accounts to be impounded and frozen. The west can also implement to cancel all visas issued to the families of these thugs and deport all their relatives and associates back to Kenya. Other politicians and diplomat thugs that favor this illegal Government should be denied any rights in the UN and their privileges withheld.

    It is just not a Kenya problem, but rather a world problem with the impetus, when George Bush stole the 2000 US election, followed through with the US and UK fraud war on Iraq and propaganda of terror hype, fomentation of hate, fear and patriotic feeding frenzy to control the hearts and minds the misled and gullible Americans and British, and use the rest of the world including the UN for the means to an end of creating a US /UK hegemony.

    The even bigger question is why KI Moon the UN SG is sitting on his fat ass and doing nothing.

  18. 18 Omosh
    January 19, 2008 at 20:29

    Economic boycott as suggested by Raila will affect the common man on the street and not the politicians. Unfortunately I think Raila has got it all along and even if elections were to be held today, though I voted for him in December I don’t think I will vote for him. This fellow is an Idi Amin reincarnated!

  19. 19 David Lulasa, Uthiru, Kenya
    January 19, 2008 at 20:38

    you’ve all heard of some kenyan politicians talk about their ancestors visions, which are absolutely false.you hear those in central kenya talk about a vision on “nyuba ya mumbi”,whilst they themselves know nothing about mumbi.you also hear those in bungoma talk about masindes vision about lake victoria,like also the luo and other luhyas.all these people in GK and opposition have no clue of truth.the truth is that mine is the only true vision that has been true.mine is a vision of a reasoning positively of the human race.

  20. January 20, 2008 at 13:30

    I am agree with those,opposing ecnomic sanction against Kenya.
    Before suggesting such proposal it is essential to keep in mind what recently happening in Kenya.
    A poor country is passing through historial political crisis.
    people’s property has destroyed and they have lost their beloveds in bloodletting crisis.
    Displacement has become their fortune.
    I such circumstance,ecnomic sanction will further destryed them,
    Poor people wiil have face different problems in form of shortage of daily commodities so ecnomic sanction is not favourable proposal,absolutely not favourable.

    There are many options to pressurise the ruling and opposition to bring to proper point which support security of the people as well as the country.

    World leader, and the single super power have moral and political obligation to move forward and force persons responsible to end the crisis.

    According to the international law ,U.N force can be deployed there and free fair and impartial election may b held.
    It is fair and final proposal and best solution of the crisis.

  21. 21 Mabraham
    January 20, 2008 at 20:58

    Kibaki is a Dictator in a closet, ask Professor Yash Pal Gai, who modeled the new proposed Canadian look a like constitution for the Kenya, after extensive months of Town hall meetings in every corner of the Country.

    Mr. Raila Odinga and his group supported this constitution which proposed the sharing of power among all tribes of the Country, and diminishing the current above-the-Law Presidential powers. Kibaki flat out rejected it. People of the world we are currently in 2008, please make a firm stand against the Dictators of the 20th Century.

    Kenya has Dynamic, educated, energetic unemployed youth, let’s stand on their side. Kenya has no major Tribal problems, unemployment and corrupt leaders/system is currently the major chronic problem of this Country.

    UN head, Mr. Moon please stand up, talk tough, call in the Security Council session against these African despot leaders,,, Kibaki and Mugabe of Zimbabwe.
    Show the World that you are the world leader and not Mr. Bush.

    It is time to show Africa and other Corrupt leaders of the World that time is up for stealing wealth and Killing the innocent citizens of their Country.

  22. 22 Victor Midhune
    January 21, 2008 at 04:55

    What is currently happening in Kenya is a military coup. The government is using the military to protect it powers. Having downplayed the peaceful protests by killing innocent civilians, I strongly think that using other techniques sidelining the military is a good move to save Kenya.

  23. 23 Peter
    January 21, 2008 at 15:36

    What has the EU or US have to do with economic boycott? Isn’t it Raila that said people should boycott products and services produced by elites of the Kibaki “government”?

    Please save my soul, but from all indications, these Kibaki tycoons are already shivering and are calling on Raila to beseech Kenyans, why? Because only Kikuyu’s voted for Kibaki, 80% of Kenyans voted Raila. It means 80% of people don’t use your products or services, simply put, close your company, I can’t handle the resources. So they can’t finance rigging in future.

    By the way, does anyone tell BBC and CNN and others that apart from Central Province, (roughly 200Km SQ), the rest of the country’s Municipal government is headed by ODM? All local authorities including Nairobi will have Mayor’s and Council Chairmen from ODM, the party of Raila Odinga? Of course except Central Provine. So it means no Local Authority in these zones (approximately 90% of all Municipal Governments) will consume services deemed to be from Kibaki friendly companies (It’s a disaster in waiting).

    I begin to see sense. And while this is happening, don’t forget that Mr Moi had more recruits to the Police and Armed Forces, thats why Mr Kibaki had to “Import Goons” from Uganda to do the dirty job of bludgeoning Kenyans in the Western Parts – the Odinga Stronghold.

    Should the situation persist, the Kalenjins whom Mr. Moi recruited might just take over and hand leadership to Raila, the legitimately elected president of the Republic. Remember more harm was from the Rift Valley Province, a vast area with roughly 30% of Kenyans, mostly Kalenjins. Thats my version and do not represent the wishes of anyone. Lets hope a few dictators learn how to play the political game from the Kenyan situation.

    Next time they will shake before stealing even a single vote, is Uganda listening?

  24. 24 Omar via text
    January 22, 2008 at 17:38

    Musevini is a big hypocrite. How can he pretend to be mediating when he had already endorsed the elections as being fair?
    OMAR,Banjul


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