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Prompt Board Next day settlement
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The Latest Daily PodCast can be found here on the Front Page of the site
Looking forward to hosting H.E Jacques Pitteloud at #Mindspeak this
Jacques Pitteloud appointed new Director-General of the Directorate for Resources
Bern, 17.12.2014 - The Federal Council has appointed Jacques
Pitteloud, currently head of mission in Nairobi, as director general
of the Directorate for Resources within the Federal Department of
Foreign Affairs (FDFA) in Bern. The Directorate for Resources (DR) is
responsible for securing and managing resources within the FDFA.
Ambassador Jacques Pitteloud will assume his new post in the summer of
2015. He will succeed Ms. Helene Budliger Artieda, whom the Federal
Council appointed last September Head of mission in Pretoria.
Born in Zumikon (canton of Zurich) in 1962, Jacques Pitteloud began
working for the FDFA in 1988. Currently he is head of mission in
Nairobi (since July 2010). Before that he held various management
positions in the FDFA and the Federal Department of Defence, Civil
Protection and Sport (DDPS). In May 2007 he was appointed head of the
Political Secretariat, which became a division of the Directorate of
Political Affairs following the merger of the Centre for International
Security Policy (CISP) and the Centre for Analysis and Prospective
Studies and Historical Unit (CAP).
Ambassador Jacques Pitteloud has a doctorate in law from the
University of Zurich, is married and has one daughter.
KENYA PICS @KENYAPICS Morning rafikis! ✨ Quite a colourful sunrise on Lamu Island
"Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated
warriors go to war first and then seek to win" -- Sun Tzu, The Art of
"All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack,
we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive;
when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when
far away, we must make him believe we are near." -- Sun Tzu, The Art
"Opportunities multiply as they are seized." -- Sun Tzu
Xi Jinping has run into the one thing in China he can’t control @qz
Law & Politics
Chinese president Xi Jinping’s signature governing style has been to
consolidate power and then wield it aggressively and independently.
He’s destroyed political opposition within his own party by locking up
Bo Xilai and Zhou Yongkang, once rumored to be against his ascension,
for the rest of their lives. Xi’s much-touted anti-corruption drive
has been a vehicle to practically wipe out their supporters, and his
opposition, from the Communist Party altogether.
He created a new National Security Commission, which he heads, then
passed a wide-ranging national security law that has been called
“neo-totalitarian” for the authority it gives the government over
everything from culture to space to the internet.
Under Xi, the party banned everything from adultery to puns, while
silencing and sometimes locking up popular commentators. He’s said to
make far-reaching policy decisions practically on his own.
But… the stock markets. Despite government attempts to prop them up in
the form of urging investors to stay in the markets, loosening
monetary controls, stock buying by state-owned banks and oil
companies, and various other measures, they are just not falling in
The Shanghai Composite Index was down over 5% in early trading in
China on Friday, and below the benchmark 3700 level. If China’s
markets close down today, it will be the third day in a row, worsening
an already painful bear market that is sure to take a toll on an
already-slowing Chinese economy.
''neo-totalitarian'' is a wonderful[ly accurate] description.
The National Military Strategy of the United States of America 2015
Law & Politics
The 2015 NMS continues the call for greater agility, innovation, and
integration. It reinforces the need for the U.S. military to remain
globally engaged to shape the security environment and to preserve our
network of alliances. It echoes previous documents in noting the
imperative within our profession to develop leaders of competence,
character, and consequence.
But it also asserts that the application of the military instrument of
power against state threats is very different than the application of
military power against non-state threats. We are more likely to face
prolonged campaigns than conflicts that are resolved quickly...that
control of escalation is becoming more difficult and more
important...and that as a hedge against unpredictability with reduced
resources, we may have to adjust our global posture.
Complexity and rapid change characterize today’s strategic
environment, driven by globalization, the diffusion of technology, and
Today, the probability of U.S. involvement in interstate war with a
major power is assessed to be low but growing.
Dempsey’s Final Instruction to the Pentagon: Prepare for a Long War
Law & Politics
In a new National Military Strategy, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff warns the Pentagon to reorganize its global footprint to
combat prolonged battles of terrorism and proxy wars.
“We are more likely to face prolonged campaigns than conflicts that
are resolved quickly… that control of escalation is becoming more
difficult and more important… and that as a hedge against
unpredictability with reduced resources, we may have to adjust our
global posture,” Dempsey writes in the new military strategy.
Non-state actors, like ISIS, are among the Pentagon’s top concerns,
but so are hybrid wars in which nations like Russia support militia
forces fighting on their behalf in Eastern Ukraine threaten national
security interests, Dempsey writes.
“Hybrid conflicts also may be comprised of state and non-state actors
working together toward shared objectives, employing a wide range of
weapons such as we have witnessed in eastern Ukraine,” Dempsey writes.
“Hybrid conflicts serve to increase ambiguity, complicate
decision-making, and slow the coordination of effective responses. Due
to these advantages to the aggressor, it is likely that this form of
conflict will persist well into the future.”
Dempsey also warns that the “probability of U.S. involvement in
interstate war with a major power is … low but growing.”
The military will continue its pivot to the Pacific, Dempsey writes,
but its presence in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and Africa
will evolve. The military must remain “globally engaged to shape the
security environment,” he said Wednesday.
The chairman also criticizes Beijing’s “aggressive land reclamation
efforts” in the South China Sea where it is building military bases in
on disputed islands. In the same region, on North Korea, “In time,
they will threaten the U.S. homeland,” Dempsey writes, and mentions
Pyongyang’s alleged hack of Sony’s computer network.
Dempsey scolds Iran, which is in the midst of negotiating a deal with
Washington to limit its nuclear program, for being a “state-sponsor of
terrorism that has undermined stability in many nations, including
Israel, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.”
Russia, Iran, North Korea and China, Dempsey writes, are not “believed
to be seeking direct military conflict with the United States or our
allies,” but the U.S. military needs to be prepared.
“Nonetheless, they each pose serious security concerns which the
international community is working to collectively address by way of
common policies, shared messages, and coordinated action,” Dempsey
US military making provocative moves against Russia, China: Analyst Press TV
02-DEC-2013 The Pivot to Asia bares its Fangs
Law & Politics
I see the pivot to Asia as the encirclement of China, then the
shrinking of its operating theatre and then lighting the tinderbox
that is the periphery and Xinjiang might well morph into China’s
Afghanistan. You will recall that the architect of Russia’s defeat in
Afghanistan was Zbigniew Brzezinski and he remains a foreign policy
eminence grise with the president’s ear.
Turkey reinforces Syria border, Davutoglu says no incursion planned @Yahoonews
Law & Politics
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey has deployed additional troops and
equipment along part of its border with Syria as fighting north of the
city of Aleppo intensifies, security sources said, but Prime Minister
Ahmet Davutoglu said there were no immediate plans for any incursion.
Security sources and officials in the capital, Ankara, said the
Turkish army had stepped up security, also sending in special forces,
due to the heavy fighting.
Syrian insurgents led by Islamist groups began a major offensive for
full control of the divided northern city, a monitor and rebels said
on Thursday, a move which would be a major blow for President Bashar
"It's correct that we have taken precautions to protect our border. If
there's any circumstance across the border that threatens Turkish
security, orders to act have been given," Davutoglu told broadcaster
"(But) no one should have the expectation that Turkey will enter Syria
tomorrow or in the near term," he said.
The Carve-Up of Syria might be at hand.
African leaders must respect constitutions or face turmoil: @fHollande
Law & Politics
French President Francois Hollande urged African leaders on Thursday
to respect their constitutional term limits amid concerns that some
are prepared to risk political instability in order to cling to power.
Hollande was speaking a day after at least six people were killed in
violent clashes in Burundi, where opposition parties are furious over
the decision of President Pierre Nkurunziza to seek a third term,
which they say is unconstitutional.
Burkina Faso's longtime ruler Blaise Compaore was toppled in a popular
uprising last October after making a similar attempt to remain in
"We witnessed it again in Burkina Faso. Today in Burundi we are seeing
the consequences. When these (constitutional) rules are not respected,
are not shared, then there are risks and there are consequences,"
Hollande told reporters in Benin at the start of a two-day African
Benin's President Thomas Boni Yayi has said he will not seek a third
term next year.
Congo Republic's President Denis Sassou Nguesso, 71, has not yet said
if he plans to seek another seven-year term. He called for a national
dialogue this week, one subject of which would be potential
constitutional changes lifting term limits and age restrictions.
France was the principal colonial power in West and Central Africa and
still wields significant economic and political influence in the
region, including playing a key role in the fight against Islamist
"France is thinking of its security, because what happens in Africa
has consequences in Europe ... So by ensuring the fight against
terrorism with our African friends, we are protecting ourselves,"
Hollande said, thanking Benin for its support.
Exclusive: U.S. Operates Drones From Secret Bases in Somalia Foreign Policy
KISMAYO, Somalia — Some say the Americans are everywhere. Some say
they are nowhere. Still others say they are everywhere and nowhere at
once. But the shadowy U.S. presence in this strategic port city in
war-torn southern Somalia has clear consequences for anyone with a
share of power here. That includes Somali regional officials who are
quick to praise American counterterrorism efforts, African Union
forces who rely on U.S. intelligence as they battle back al-Shabab,
and even the al Qaeda-linked militants themselves, who are
increasingly hemmed in by a lethal combination of AU-led
counterinsurgency, airstrikes, and raids by U.S. special operators.
Based out of a fortress of fading green Hesco barriers at the
ramshackle airport in Kismayo, a team of special operators from the
Joint Special Operations Command, the elite U.S. military organization
famous for killing Osama bin Laden, flies drones and carries out other
counterterrorism activities, multiple Somali government and African
Union sources have confirmed. Their presence in this volatile city,
which until 2012 was controlled by al-Shabab, has not previously been
reported. Nor has the United States acknowledged operating drones from
Somali soil. (Unmanned armed and surveillance flights are said to
originate from Camp Lemonnier in nearby Djibouti or from bases in
neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia.)
“They have a base over there,” Abdighani Abdi Jama, state minister for
the presidency in the interim regional administration in Kismayo, said
of U.S. forces, gesturing to a heavily fortified compound not far from
the airport’s small terminal. He confirmed that as many as 40 U.S.
military personnel are currently stationed in Kismayo, roughly 300
miles south of the capital of Mogadishu, where he said they operate
drones from the airport’s single runway and carry out covert
“intelligence” and “counterterrorism” operations.
“They have high tech; they have drones; they have so many things,”
said Jama. “We are really benefiting.”
The secretive outpost in Kismayo is one of several locations within
Somalia where U.S. special operations forces have set up shop beyond
the prying eyes of the Somali public — and the American public that
foots the bill. Somali government and AMISOM sources confirmed the
existence of a second clandestine American cell in Baledogle, the site
of an abandoned Cold War-era Air Force base in Somalia’s sun-blasted
Lower Shabelle region. These sources estimated that between 30 and 40
U.S. personnel are stationed there, also carrying out counterterrorism
operations that include operating drones.
A spokesman for the U.S. Special Operations Command, which handles
public affairs for JSOC, referred Foreign Policy to the U.S. Africa
Command (AFRICOM) for comment. AFRICOM spokesman Chuck Prichard, in
turn, confirmed that a “small number” of U.S. personnel within
AFRICOM’s area of responsibility are special operations forces, but
declined to comment on the size or location of their units. He also
declined to comment on whether or not they are responsible for
operating drones, saying only that they “are not tasked with directly
engaging enemy forces.”
The expanded U.S. footprint in Somalia is part of a broader trend
toward deeper covert military engagement in the volatile Horn of
Africa region. That engagement has taken the form of ramped-up
intelligence and special operations activities, as well as military
assistance programs that have grown dramatically in recent years
without much in the way of public debate or congressional oversight.
Although much of what the U.S. military does in Somalia remains
shrouded in secrecy, it is clear that the Americans are doing more
than just gathering intelligence and supporting African troops. In
recent years, special operations commandos have staged a number of
daring raids on al-Shabab targets, including an aborted amphibious
assault in 2013 by Navy SEAL Team 6 aimed at capturing one of the
suspects in the Westgate Mall attack, which took place in neighboring
Kenya and left 67 people dead. U.S. forces have also carried out drone
strikes and other airstrikes in Somalia since at least 2007, when an
American AC-130 gunship fired the opening salvo in the Somali theater
of the war on terror. That operation targeted a convoy carrying Aden
Hashi Ayro, an al Qaeda operative thought to be responsible for the
murder of Western aid workers. Ayro survived, only to be taken out by
a U.S. missile strike one year later.
Nairobi, Kenya - June 18, 2012 CCTV "I think they finally woke up. I don't know when the penny dropped'' Aly-Khan Satchu
Taking a broader Sweep, it is clear that the United States and
@USAfricaCommand has carved out a much more forward Position on the
African Continent. In some respects, @BarackObama 's Pivot to Asia
detours through Africa. China has made a Parabolic Advance across the
African Continent and one of the 'desired' Side Effects of staunching
the 'Al-Qaeda' Advance is that it also counters the Chinese Advance
via The Insertion of US Hard Power. The US cannot challenge China's
Extreme Dollar Diplomacy but it can insert Hard Power with which it
can tilt the African Pitch.
Now returning to Africa and although @USAfricaCommand was set up under
a Previous President's Watch, I think the Penny dropped [re China's
extraordinary Surge in Africa] only quite recently or in the last 24
Zbigniew Brzezinski [whom I admire and I believe is a Foreign Policy
Eminence Grise and has @BarackObama's Ear] once said that '' the three
grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and
maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries
pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming
I think the interesting Point is how Africa has now become Front and
Centre of the Geopolitical Global Puzzle and the Collision between US
Hard Power and China's Soft Power
A Sine qua non of President Barack Obama's pivot to Asia is US/NATO Power Projection over the Indian Ocean. 19-AUG-2013
Professor Felipe Fernández-Armesto explains why 'The precocity of the
Indian Ocean as a zone of long-range navigation and cultural exchange
is one of the glaring facts of history', made possible by the
'reversible escalator' of the monsoon.'
I have no doubt that the Indian Ocean is set to regain its glory days.
China's dependence on imported crude oil is increasing and the US'
interestingly is decreasing. I am also certain the Eastern Seaboard of
Africa from Mozambique through Somalia is the last Great Energy Prize
in the c21st. [President Kenyatta probably posed the question to
Vladimir Putin, whether Russia felt it had a role to play in this
Energy Great Game in East Africa]. Therefore, the control of the
Indian Ocean becomes kind of decisive and with control China can be
shut down quite quickly. A Sine qua non of President Barack Obama's
pivot to Asia is US/NATO Power Projection over the Indian Ocean.
Weak Power Grids in Africa Stunt Economies and Fire Up Tempers New York Times
“It’s like death, this load shedding,” Ms. Ngwenya, 45, said,
referring to the blackouts imposed by South Africa’s state utility to
prevent a collapse of the national electricity grid.
All of sub-Saharan Africa’s power generating capacity amounts to less
than South Korea’s, and a quarter of it is unproductive at any given
moment because of the continent’s aging infrastructure. The World Bank
estimates that blackouts alone cut down the gross domestic products of
sub-Saharan countries by 2.1 percent.
“With the advent of democracy, we were promised constant power, or at
least improved power,” he added. “But much to our surprise, things
have only gotten worse. In some middle-class parts of Lagos, people
are lucky if they now get 30 minutes of power a day.”
UN declares Burundi elections not free or credible
United Nations (United States) (AFP) - Elections in Burundi that were
wracked by violence and boycotted by the opposition were not free or
credible, United Nations observers said, a day after clashes left six
dead in the capital.
Parliamentary and local elections were held on Monday despite an
appeal by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to postpone the polls after
months of turmoil.
The UN electoral observer mission said in a report that the elections
took place "in a tense political crisis, and a climate of widespread
fear and intimidation in parts of the country."
"Episodes of violence and explosions preceded, and in some cases
accompanied election day activities, mostly in Bujumbura," said the
The mission concluded "that the environment was not conducive for
free, credible and inclusive elections."
The results of the parliamentary polls have yet to be released but
Belgium has said it will not recognize the outcome and the United
States ratcheted up international pressure Thursday, calling for
presidential elections on July 15 to be delayed.
The Street is infinitely more powerful than ever before in SSA's History.
10-NOV-2014 Ouagadougou's Signal to Sub-Sahara Africa @TheStarkenya
We need to ask ourselves; how many people can incumbent shoot stone
cold dead in such a situation - 100, 1,000, 10,000? This is another
point: there is a threshold beyond which the incumbent can't go. Where
that threshold lies will be discovered in the throes of the event.
What's clear is that a very young, very informed and very connected
African youth demographic [many characterise this as a 'demographic
dividend'] - which for Beautiful Blaise turned into a demographic
terminator - is set to alter the existing equilibrium between the
rulers and the subjects, and a re-balancing has begun.
South Africa’s short memory
A body lies by the wheel of a truck in Mozambique. Three figures stand
with their faces away from the camera, gazing down at the dead man.
Such scenes were common in Mozambique when this photograph was taken
in 1983. The photographer is unknown: the negative was found in the
archives of the Mozambican News Agency. A print is now on show at the
Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Johannesburg, as part of an
exhibition of photographs from southern African states during the last
years of apartheid, from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s.
On the Frontline records what happened in newly independent states
like Mozambique when they offered support to apartheid’s enemies —
above all, the African National Congress — and leaves no doubt about
the strength of South Africa’s reaction or the high price they paid.
There is work from Mozambique, Lesotho, Zambia and Angola and others
that played host to the ANC and the South West Africa People’s
Organisation (SWAPO), fighting for the independence of Namibia. There
are also very striking pictures from Namibia, taken at the time of
South Africa’s occupation. A handful of photos tell the story of peace
and rehabilitation in the aftermath of a regional war that lasted 15
SWAPO supporters in Namibia John Liebenberg
Angola’s Dos Santos Tells Party Unwise to Step Down Before 2017
Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Africa’s second-longest serving ruler, said
he plans to step down only when his current mandate runs out in 2017
and asked his party to prepare for a leadership change in the
“In certain restricted circles it was almost a given that the
president wouldn’t carry out his mandate until the end, but it’s
evident that it’s not wise to consider that option under the current
circumstances,” Dos Santos said in a speech published on the website
of Angolan state-run news agency Angop. “In the meantime, I think we
should study very seriously how to build that transition.”
The 72-year-old Dos Santos, who has ruled Angola since 1979, is the
second-longest ruler in Africa after Equatorial-Guinean President
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo
“Wildly optimistic projections”
Aly-Khan Satchu, who heads the financial advisory and data vending
firm Rich Management, said the 4.9 per cent GDP growth is an early
indication that the forecast by both the Treasury and the Bretton
Woods institutions may be “wildly optimistic.”
“It is a signal that the economy is not following the projected
trajectory of seven per cent as indicated in the budget. It is a
significant miss. I expected at least five per cent growth in the
first quarter,” he said, citing the fact that growth stood at 5.5 per
cent in the last quarter of 2014.
The 4.9 per cent growth in the first quarter of this year, Mr Satchu
said, is “far below expectations”.
Country Music Finds a Home Far From Home, in Kenya
NAIROBI, Kenya — Sir Elvis, dressed in a yellow and black plaid shirt,
jeans, boots and a black cowboy hat, tuned his guitar under the wooden
roof and neon beer advertisements of the Reminisce Bar and Restaurant.
With a signal to the band, he began singing the Don Williams country
hit “It Must Be Love” in a purring baritone. Patrons got up to dance,
rocking back and forth.
This would not be an unusual sight for Nashville or just about any
country tavern in the United States. Except this was not East Texas,
but Nairobi in East Africa, where American country music has a
surprisingly robust, and growing, following.
“I grew up with it, and my parents loved country,” said Elvis Otieno,
37, who has become perhaps the best-known Kenyan country performer.
Sir Elvis, as he is known onstage, was born the year Elvis Presley
died, and was named after him by parents who were big fans of the
“Just like Dolly Parton sings about her Smoky Mountains, Tennessee, I
want to sing about the hills of Kiambu,” she said.
In Nairobi, people dance to Sir Elvis, who has become perhaps the
best-known Kenyan country performer.
Nairobi All Share Bloomberg -0.33% 2015
162.35 -0.86 -0.53%
Nairobi ^NSE20 Bloomberg -5.34% 2015
4,839.60 -18.82 -0.39%
Every Listed Share can be interrogated here
UAE-based Gulf Petrochem Group has acquired marketer Essar Petroleum
East Africa and renamed it ASPAM Energy (Kenya). @BD_Africa
In a statement released on Thursday, Gulf Petroleum said the deal
would improve its services and increase its supply of various oil
products in East Africa.
Gulf Petrochem Group said it had already secured approvals from the
Energy Regulatory Commission and the Competition Commission of Kenya
for the acquisition.
“ASPAM Energy (Kenya) will continue with the commitment to cater to
customers in East Africa who were earlier serviced by Essar Petroleum
East Africa Ltd in the fuel retailing segment,” said the company.
The new entity also intends to develop storage and retail
infrastructures in East Africa. Currently, Gulf Petrochem Group has a
trading arm dealing in fuel oil, gas oil, bitumen and base oil, among
others, and will continue selling the products in the region.
It is also a major player in the manufacturing of petroleum products.
It does bunkering, oil refining, grease manufacturing, oil storage
terminals, bitumen manufacturing and shipping and logistics.
“Prior to our acquisition of Essar (Kenya), the company enjoyed
roughly a 1.1 per cent market share. With our experience, market
knowledge, portfolio and global reach we hope to significantly
increase that market share and consolidate the group’s offering in
East Africa,” said Gulf Petrochem Group MD Sudhir Goyel.