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04-JUL-2016 Brexit political and financial shockwaves @TheStarKenya
Law & Politics
The vote to leave the European Union (Brexit) produced a political and
a financial shock-wave.
British Prime Minister David Cameron (who was expected on a state
visit here in Nairobi) tendered his resignation. British politician
Boris Johnson whom many felt was using the Brexit blade to stab his
way to number 10, and who preferred to spend his Saturday playing
cricket on the Althorn estate of Earl Spencer, rather than take
charge, essentially spontaneously combusted in front of not only his
country-folk but the whole world. There will surely be more political
twists and turns – but the point is that the United Kingdom is a
robust democracy, and political volatility which has flown off the
charts will ebb.
The Blairites used the Brexit confusion to attack the leader of the
Labour Party who is also the opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn, whom
they feel is a clear and present danger as he is allegedly prepared to
call for an investigation into former Prime Minister Tony Blair for
alleged war crimes during the Iraq War, according to reports. What is
also now apparent is that while the ticket said this was a vote to
stay in or leave the EU, votes were not cast on the issue at hand. The
remainers were always fighting a 40-year old tide where politicians
had coached the electorate that the European Union was an evil and
intrusive construct. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage’s poster
of hoards of black and brown immigrants tipped the balance, I am sure.
In the 1984 primaries in the United States, former vice president
(1977–81) Walter Mondale asked American diplomat and politician Gary
Hart: “Where’s the beef?” And one cannot help feeling this merry band
of Brexiteers had gotten themselves stuck in a time-warp like Nigel
Farage who said at the European Parliament: “You all laughed at me..
You are not laughing now.” No one is laughing now but everyone is
asking: “Where is the plan?Where’s the beef?’” I listened to the Bank
of England Governor Mark Carney on Thursday, and I thought to myself:
How strange it is that the sanest, most intelligent voice in the
United Kingdom in these matters has turned out to be Carney and he is
The pound closed the week at 1.3255 versus the dollar (multiply by 101
to get the shilling pound cross rate) not far off a 31-year low. For
now the pound drifts lower. Carney has already placed a rate cut and
more QE on the table. The pound is the “shock-absorber”. However, at
some point the whole world is going to pile in and for medium to
long-term accounts, they are probably looking to scale in already.
Ten-year Gilt yields hit a record low last week of 0.88 per cent.
Richard Britten-Long, the founder of St Paul’s Property Trust (which
is seeking to list at the Nairobi Securities Exchange) said: “Now that
the pound is outside the EU, it might well eventually morph into the
Swiss franc.” Now that’s a thought.
Let Germany Offer Young Britons Citizenship, Merkel Deputy Says @business
Law & Politics
Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel suggested that Germany could offer
citizenship to young Britons, saying they shouldn’t be punished by the
majority that voted to leave the European Union in the U.K.
“They wanted to stay in Europe because they know the world is
changing” and the U.K. can’t go it alone, Gabriel said in a speech to
a Social Democratic Party conference in Berlin on Saturday. “So it’s a
good sign that young people in Britain are smarter than their strange
In the 18-to-24 age bracket, more than 70 percent voted ‘Remain’ in
the June 23 Brexit referendum, according to YouGov polling, while 52
percent of the country as a whole voted to leave the EU. That split
should inspire the Social Democrats to expand their long-standing push
for Germany to ease the granting of dual citizenship, Gabriel said.
“Let us also offer it to young Britons who live in Germany, France or
Italy, so they can stay EU citizens in this country,” said Gabriel,
who heads the SPD, the junior partner in German Chancellor Angela
.@NATO A confrontation in their minds @FT
Law & Politics
As the Nato summit in Warsaw draws near, emotional tension escalates.
Poland is hosting its biggest-ever military manoeuvres. The US
secretary of defence’s deputy assistant Michael Carpenter agrees with
the assessment of the think-tank Rand Corporation that the Russian
army could seize the Baltic republics within 60 hours and pledges to
increase combat capability.
American warships sail into the Black Sea amid Turkey’s President
Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s complaints to Jens Stoltenberg, Nato
secretary-general, that the alliance is almost nowhere to be seen in
the region. Russian and Nato military aircraft and ships come within
dangerous proximity of each other. Now, with the UK’s vote for Brexit,
we are very unlikely to see a strengthening of the alliance’s role as
the only structure able to embrace all the important powers and keep
the vital involvement of the US in Europe. For Russia v the west,
additional irritation is looming.
All this is reminiscent of the cold war days, except that there is
nothing now to justify such a conflict. The confrontation of the
1940s-1980s was underpinned by ideology.
There is no existential contradiction now, and a reproduction of the
old matrix looks like a farce, albeit a frightening one. As military
capabilities are enhanced, the rifle on the wall may go off one day,
as the Russian writer Anton Chekhov warned.
But suddenly the “defeated” Russia emerged. Having failed to get
treatment as an equal through admonition, Moscow began to remind the
world that it was an unavoidable factor. This was a shock for Nato.
Seeking to impose its new identity, Moscow is flexing its muscles and
occasionally playing rough, scaring its neighbours and unnerving their
stronger patrons, the leading Nato powers.
The latter do not want to get involved or take risks. Nato’s
enlargement has always been mainly political and not many expected
that beyond rhetorical solidarity the Article 5 really can be invoked
vis-à-vis new members. But Nato leadership understands that the lack
of their junior members’ faith in the alliance will ruin it, and
therefore doubts about its guarantees must be dispelled. Hence the
combination of rhetoric, gestures and practical steps in an attempt to
cut Russia down to size while not provoking an overpowering response.
China is the Adversary. Russia is a distraction.
Hacked Emails Reveal @NATO General Plotting Against Obama on Russia Policy The Intercept
Law & Politics
RETIRED U.S. AIR FORCE Gen. Philip Breedlove, until recently the
supreme commander of NATO forces in Europe, plotted in private to
overcome President Barack Obama’s reluctance to escalate military
tensions with Russia over the war in Ukraine in 2014, according to
apparently hacked emails from Breedlove’s Gmail account that were
posted on a new website called DC Leaks.
Obama defied political pressure from hawks in Congress and the
military to provide lethal assistance to the Ukrainian government,
fearing that doing so would increase the bloodshed and provide Russian
President Vladimir Putin with the justification for deeper incursions
into the country.
Breedlove, during briefings to Congress, notably contradicted the
Obama administration regarding the situation in Ukraine, leading to
news stories about conflict between the general and Obama.
But the leaked emails provide an even more dramatic picture of the
intense back-channel lobbying for the Obama administration to begin a
proxy war with Russia in Ukraine.
In a series of messages in 2014, Breedlove sought meetings with former
Secretary of State Colin Powell, asking for advice on how to pressure
the Obama administration to take a more aggressive posture toward
“I may be wrong, … but I do not see this WH really ‘engaged’ by
working with Europe/NATO. Frankly I think we are a ‘worry,’ … ie a
threat to get the nation drug into a conflict,” Breedlove wrote in an
email to Powell, who responded by accepting an invitation to meet and
discuss the dilemma. “I seek your counsel on two fronts,” Breedlove
continued, “how to frame this opportunity in a time where all eyes are
on ISIL all the time, … and two, … how to work this personally with
Breedlove attempted to influence the administration through several
channels, emailing academics and retired military officials, including
former NATO supreme commander Wesley Clark, for assistance in building
his case for supplying military assistance to Ukrainian forces
battling Russian-backed separatists.
“I think POTUS sees us as a threat that must be minimized, … ie do not
get me into a war????” Breedlove wrote in an email to Harlan Ullman,
senior adviser to the Atlantic Council, describing his ongoing attempt
to get Powell to help him influence Obama.
“Given Obama’s instruction to you not to start a war, this may be a
tough sell,” Ullman replied a few months later, in another string of
emails about Breedlove’s effort to “leverage, cajole, convince or
coerce the U.S. to react” to Russia.
In the European press, Breedlove has been portrayed as a hawkish
figure known for leaning on allied nations to ditch diplomacy and to
adopt a more confrontational role again Russian-backed separatists in
Ukraine. Breedlove, testifying before Congress earlier in February of
this year, called Russia “a long-term existential threat to the United
States and to our European allies.”
Der Spiegel reported that Breedlove “stunned” German leaders with a
surprise announcement in 2015 claiming that pro-Russian separatists
had “upped the ante” in eastern Ukraine with “well over a thousand
combat vehicles, Russian combat forces, some of the most sophisticated
air defense, battalions of artillery” sent to Donbass, a center of the
Breedlove’s numbers were “significantly higher” than the figures known
to NATO intelligence agencies and seemed exaggerated to German
officials. The announcement appeared to be a provocation designed to
disrupt mediation efforts led by Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The emails, however, depict a desperate search by Breedlove to build
his case for escalating the conflict, contacting colleagues and
friends for intelligence to illustrate the Russian threat. Karber, who
visited Ukrainian politicians and officials in Kiev on several
occasions, sent frequent messages to Breedlove — “per your request,”
he noted — regarding information he had received about separatist
military forces and Russian troop movements. In several updates,
Breedlove received military data sourced from Twitter and social
Karber, the president of the Potomac Foundation, became the center of
a related scandal last year when it was discovered that he had
facilitated a meeting during which images of purported Russian forces
in Ukraine were distributed to the office of Sen. James Inhofe,
R-Okla., and were published by a neoconservative blog. The pictures
turned out to be a deception; one supposed picture of Russian tanks in
Ukraine was, in fact, an old photograph of Russian tanks in Ossetia
during the war with Georgia.
Breedlove stayed in close contact with Karber and other officials who
shared his views on the Ukrainian conflict.
“Phil, can’t we get a statement to counteract the Russians on use of
force? what can I do to help? If the Ukrainians lose control of the
narrative, the Russians will see it as an open door,” wrote retired
Gen. Wesley Clark, who forwarded on his messages with Victoria Nuland,
the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. He
also passed along concerns from the Bulgarian president that Bulgaria
might be Russia’s next target.
In other messages, Clark relayed specific requests for the types of
military aid desired by Ukrainian officials. In addition to radar
systems and other forms of military equipment, Clark recommended that
Breedlove “encourage Ukraine to hire some first rate pr firms and
crisis communications firms in U.S. and Europe.” He added, “They need
the right tools to engage in information warfare.”
Breedlove was most recently in the news explaining that he now thinks
we need to talk to the Russian government to resolve the conflict in
Ukraine. “I think we need to begin to have meaningful dialogue,” he
said last week, while reiterating his views on the need for a strong
NATO to militarily match Russia. “Russia does understand power, and
strength, and unity,” he said.
@BarackObama After Dark: The Precious Hours Alone @nytimes
Law & Politics
WASHINGTON — “Are you up?”
The emails arrive late, often after 1 a.m., tapped out on a secure
BlackBerry from an email address known only to a few. The weary
recipients know that once again, the boss has not yet gone to bed.
The late-night interruptions from President Obama might be sharply
worded questions about memos he has read. Sometimes they are taunts
because the recipient’s sports team just lost.
Mr. Obama calls himself a “night guy,” and as president, he has come
to consider the long, solitary hours after dark as essential as his
time in the Oval Office. Almost every night that he is in the White
House, Mr. Obama has dinner at 6:30 with his wife and daughters and
then withdraws to the Treaty Room, his private office down the hall
from his bedroom on the second floor of the White House residence.
There, his closest aides say, he spends four or five hours largely by himself.
“The sports channel is on,” Mr. Emanuel said, recalling the ubiquitous
images on the room’s large flat-screen television. “Sports in the
background, with the volume down.”
To stay awake, the president does not turn to caffeine. He rarely
drinks coffee or tea, and more often has a bottle of water next to him
than a soda. His friends say his only snack at night is seven lightly
“There’s something about the night,” Mr. Keenan said, reflecting on
his boss’s use of the time. “It’s smaller. It lets you think.”
Not everything that goes on in the Treaty Room is work.
In addition to playing Words With Friends, a Scrabble-like online
game, on his iPad, Mr. Obama turns up the sound on the television for
big sports games.
Now Mr. Obama, who has six months left of solitary late nights in the
Treaty Room, seems to be looking toward the end. Once he is out of the
White House, he said in March at an Easter prayer breakfast in the
State Dining Room, “I am going to take three, four months where I just
Angolan Bonds Plunge as President Warns of Debt-Payment Struggle @Business
Angolan Eurobonds tumbled after the leader of Africa’s largest oil
producer said the country is struggling to meet debt payments because
of the crash in crude prices.
Revenue is “barely enough” to pay debt owed by the government and
Sonangol, the state oil company, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos
said at a meeting of the ruling MPLA party, according to a broadcast
on state TV Friday. The central bank has been receiving about $300
million a month from oil companies, “manifestly insufficient for the
needs of banks and the needs of the state budget,” Dos Santos said.
The decline in the price of the debt drove up the yields on Angola’s
$1.5 billion of Eurobonds due in November 2025 by 68 basis points to
10.41 percent by 5:38 p.m. in the capital, Luanda, the most since Jan.
20 on a closing basis and set for the highest since April 12.
Blackrock Inc. is the biggest holder of the bonds, according to data
compiled by Bloomberg.
Angola, sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest economy after Nigeria and South
Africa, has been battered as oil prices fell by more than half since
2014 to about $50 a barrel. The commodity accounts for 70 percent of
revenue and almost all exports. The government hasn’t received oil
proceeds from Sonangol since the beginning of the year, Dos Santos,
The comments came a day after the central bank raised its benchmark
interest rate 200 basis points to a record 16 percent, and the
International Monetary Fund said Angola had called off talks about a
bailout loan to help steady the economy. The government only wants to
continue discussions about getting technical help, IMF spokesman Gerry
Rice said at a briefing in Washington.
“The decision to abandon an IMF bailout has increased the risk of a
messier crisis,” John Ashbourne, an economist at Capital Economics
Ltd. in London, said in a note Friday. “A recession and accompanying
debt crisis are now possible. Angola has historically relied on loans
from China, but Beijing may be reluctant to throw good money after
The kwanza has fallen 20 percent against the U.S. currency in 2016.
Even so, its official value of 169.22 per dollar is much stronger than
the black market rate of about 620, which has weakened as hard
currency becomes scarcer. The central bank may devalue the kwanza by
as much as 20 percent, the Novo Jornal reported Friday, citing banking
officials it didn’t identify. Calls to Banco Nacional de Angola
seeking comment went unanswered.
The nation’s ratio of debt to gross domestic product will rise to 70
percent this year, more than double the 2013 figure of 33 percent, the
IMF said in April.
Mozambique: there's more to peace than silencing the guns
‘We hadn't understood the war, and now we didn't understand the peace.
But everything seemed to be going well, after the guns had fallen
This quote from Mia Couto’s famous 2000 book, The Last Flight of the
Flamingo, remains a pertinent reminder of the many challenges faced by
Mozambique’s peacebuilding process.
Kenya: Investigate Killings of Lawyer, Two Me HRW
Kenyan authorities must urgently investigate the killing last week of
three men, including a human rights lawyer, and ensure that those
found responsible are held to account in fair trials, 34 Kenyan and
international human rights organizations said today. Human rights
activists will today hold demonstrations in Nairobi and other parts of
Kenya to protest the heinous killings.
The shocking abduction, enforced disappearance and extrajudicial
killings of lawyer Willie Kimani, as well as his client and their taxi
driver that day, whose bodies were recovered from a river 73
kilometres northeast of Nairobi, should be cause for alarm over the
state of human rights and rule of law in Kenya, especially in the face
of reports suggesting that police officers were involved.
The bodies of Willie Kimani, who was employed by International Justice
Mission, a Christian legal aid charity, his client Josephat Mwenda, a
motorcycle taxi rider, and Joseph Muiruri, a taxi driver, were
recovered on June 30, 2016 from Ol-Donyo Sabuk River in Machakos
County, eastern Kenya, a week after the three went missing in
circumstances suggesting they were victims of enforced disappearance.
Initial reports immediately suggested that Administration Police (AP),
officers, one of whom Mwenda was defending himself against in court
that day, may have abducted them.
East Africa's biggest broadcaster @NationMediaGrp to close radio and TV stations Guardian
“We are reorganising ourselves with the objective of transforming the
group into a modern 21st century digital content company embracing a
digital/mobile first business model,” the statement read.
Internet penetration and mobile phone use has risen rapidly in Kenya,
with the number of mobile data subscriptions rising by 10.6% to 23.9m
subscriptions in 2015/16. But as a result, media companies in Kenya
have struggled to keep up with digital news offerings from sites such
as Facebook and Twitter.
Over the past year, NMG’s share prize has fallen by 27% with revenues
for 2015 shrinking by 7% to sit at £90m, compared to the £98m over a
similar period in 2014.
Early last year, the three leading television stations lost hundreds
of millions of Kenyan shillings in revenue after being taken off air
for three weeks over wrangles between media owners and the government
over the country’s plan to migrate from analogue to digital
@NationMediaGrp share price data here
Par Value: 2.50/-
Closing Price: 150.00
Total Shares Issued: 188542286.00
Market Capitalization: 28,281,342,900
FY Revenue 12.3395b vs. 13.3513b -7.578%
FY Profit before tax 2.8232b vs. 3.624b -22.097%
FY Profit after tax 2.2227b vs. 2.4605b -9.665%
FY Other comprehensive income [151.6m] vs. [50.3m] +201.392%
EPS 11.8 vs. 13.1 -9.924%
Dividend per share 10.0 vs. 10.0
Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the year 3.0633b vs. 3.4517b -11.252%
International Equity Markets for the most part have recovered their
poise with the S&P higher now than at BREXIT.
Sterling is holding above a 31 Year Low and was last at 1.3267 versus
the Dollar [x by 101.00 to get the Sterling Shilling Rate]
The Nairobi All Share closed 0.39 points lower at 140.07 marginally
above a 5 month Low.
The NSE20 which had bounced +23.74 points since 29th June, retreated
18.82 points to close at 3633.98
Equity Turnover was 648.1m.
N.S.E Equities - Agricultural
Eaagads rallied +6.66% to close at 24.00. It is the only Coffee Pure
Play at the Exchange.
N.S.E Equities - Commercial & Services
Safaricom ticked -0.569% easier to close at 17.45 with 6.498m shares
changing hands. Safaricom is +7.05% in 2016 and has been in a Bull
Channel for more than 48 months.
Nation Media issued the following statement last week
“We are reorganising ourselves with the objective of transforming the
group into a modern 21st century digital content company embracing a
digital/mobile first business model,”
The numbers of Staff who were let go remains opaque. The Questions for
Investors are as follows
1. Is Nation Media now right-sized?
2. Is Nation Media ahead of the Curve and and are we going to see a
similar Play Book across the Media space?
Nation Media traded just 1,100 shares at an unchanged 150.00.
WPP-ScanGroup eased -1.08% to close at a Fresh 2016 Low of 18.20. NMG
is probably a Lead Indicator.
N.S.E Equities - Finance & Investment
Equity Bank was the most actively traded share at the Exchange and
firmed +0.64% to close at 39.25 and traded 8.001m. Equity is -1.875%
in 2016 and out-performing what has been a soft Banking Sector with
the exception of Standard Chartered.
KCB edged -0.74% easier to close at 33.50 and traded 5.034m shares
worth 169.561m. With the current Price sitting below the proposed
Rights Issue Price, it is more than likely that the Rights issue will
be pulled. The Rights Issue was always a pre-emptive strike and not a
Must. An Official Announcement to this effect will see the price pop
higher off what is a deeply oversold position.
DTB was marked down -4.19% to close at 160.00 on light trading.
N.S.E Equities - Industrial & Allied
Trans-Century rowed back -0.98% to close at 5.05 and traded 5,600
shares on the day it announced that Afreximbank would take over Sh15bn
of its outstanding loans. This is credit positive but its not yet
clear if its shareholder positive.
East African Cables [which is owned by Trans-Century] popped +8.73%
better to close at 6.85.