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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Friday 15th of July 2022

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There is an idea of liquidity, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real depth, only an entity, something illusory. @FadingRallies
World Of Finance

There is an idea of liquidity, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real depth, only an entity, something illusory. @FadingRallies

Though flow toxicity is hidden, and you can get a quote & feel an HFT algo tightening spreads, maybe you can even sense an order book... it's simply not there.

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’Voodoo Economics’
World Of Finance

’Voodoo Economics’
We have reached the point when the curtain was lifted in the Wizard of Oz and the Wizard revealed to be ‘’an ordinary conman from Omaha who has been using elaborate magic tricks and props to make himself seem “great and powerful”’’ 

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Jul 3 One can create inorganic cascade like price moves in the derivatives market and thereby control the physical commodity.
World Of Finance

Jul 3 One can create inorganic cascade like price moves in the derivatives market and thereby control the physical commodity.

One can create inorganic cascade like price moves in the derivatives market and thereby control the physical commodity. 

There are plenty of examples of these inorganic price moves. In essence, the Tail wags the dog. 

The challenge is where the Supply/Demand balance is precarious and a small adjustment [reduce Supply or increase Demand] tips the situation into disequilibrium. 

The Tail will no longer wag the Dog and the Dog will simply run amok.

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Embattled #SriLankan Pres @GotabayaR who fled to #Maldives Wed departed on Saudia Flight SV788 to Singapore. @Dhaurunews
Law & Politics

Embattled #SriLankan Pres @GotabayaR who fled to #Maldives Wed departed on Saudia Flight SV788 to Singapore. @Dhaurunews

Pictured is the aircraft a few mins before Gotabaya, his wife & 2 bodyguards boarded under heavy @MNDF_Official security Thurs morning.

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Jul 3 Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
Law & Politics

Jul 3 Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

It is now clear that no amount of gaslighting can finesse a Ukrainian military rebound from here. Shoigu [who has resurrected himself from the dead You will recall Information Warfare Specialists had informed us that he was on his last legs] has pronounced the Lugansk People's Republic liberated. 

As mentioned before, I see Russia moving eventually towards Odesa, landlocking Ukraine and only then coming to the Table. 
The inability to read the battlefield, the extraordinary propaganda threads on Twitter, the deplatforming of any voice that countered the Propaganda effort have produced a ''Fairy Tale'' reality and a geoeconomic boomerang effect which is shredding the standard of living in the West and whose consequence will be Regime Change in Western Capitals long before Moscow.
The choice for Western Policy Makers is extraordinarily bleak. 

It is either an ignominious retreat a la Afghanistan [and this creates a risk of a domino effect with Taiwan making it a potential Trifecta of reversals [Afghanistan, Ukraine and Taiwan]. 

The Ukrainian Military is largely extinguished and there will be no insurgency which will bleed Russia. 

Therefore, given the singular lack of understanding about the efficacy of sanction warfare

Therefore, it is clear Western P

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Russia and China Haven’t Even Started to Ratchet Up the Pain Dial UNZ
Law & Politics

Russia and China Haven’t Even Started to Ratchet Up the Pain Dial UNZ 

The Suicide Spectacular Summer Show, currently on screen across Europe, proceeds in full regalia, much to the astonishment of virtually the whole Global South: a trashy, woke Gotterdammerung remake, with Wagnerian grandeur replaced by twerking.

Decadent Roman Emperors at least exhibited some degree of pathos. 

Here we’re just faced by a toxic mix of hubris, abhorring mediocrity, delusion, crude ideological sheep-think and outright irrationality wallowing in white man’s burden racist/supremacist slush – all symptoms of a profound sickness of the soul.
To call it the Biden-Leyen-Blinken West or so would be too reductionist: after all these are puny politico/functionaries merely parroting orders. 

This is a historical process: physical, psychic and moral cognitive degeneration embedded in NATOstan’s manifest desperation in trying to contain Eurasia, allowing occasional tragicomic sketches such as a NATO summit proclaiming Woke War against virtually the whole non-West.
So when President Putin addresses the collective West in front of Duma leaders and heads of political parties, it does feel like a comet striking an inert planet. 

It’s not even a case of “lost in translation”. “They” simply aren’t equipped to get it.
The “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet” part was at least formulated to be understood even by simpletons:
“Today we hear that they want to defeat us on the battlefield, well, what can I say, let them try. We have heard many times that the West wants to fight us to the last Ukrainian – this is a tragedy for the Ukrainian people. But it looks like it’s all coming to this. But everyone should know that, by and large, we haven’t really started anything yet.”
Fact. On Operation Z, Russia is using a fraction of its military potential, resources and state of the art weapons.
Then we come to the most probable path ahead in the war theater:
“We do not refuse peace negotiations, but those who refuse should know that the longer it drags, the more difficult it will be for them to negotiate with us.”
As in the pain dial will be ratcheted up, slowly but surely, on all fronts.
Yet the meat of the matter had been delivered earlier in the speech: “ratcheting up the pain dial” applies in fact to dismantling the whole “rules-based international order” edifice. The geopolitical world has changed. Forever.
Here’s the arguably key passage:
“They should have understood that they have already lost from the very beginning of our special military operation, because its beginning means the beginning of a radical breakdown of the World Order in the American way. 

This is the beginning of the transition from liberal-globalist American egocentrism to a truly multipolar world – 

a world based not on selfish rules invented by someone for themselves, behind which there is nothing but the desire for hegemony, not on hypocritical double-standards, 

but on international law, on the true sovereignty of peoples and civilizations, on their will to live their historical destiny, their values and traditions and build cooperation on the basis of democracy, justice and equality. And we must understand that this process can no longer be stopped.”
Meet the trifecta
A case can be made that Putin and Russia’s Security Council are implementing a tactical trifecta that has reduced the collective West to an amorphous bunch of bio headless chickens.
The trifecta mixes the promise of negotiations – but only when considering Russia’s steady advances on the ground in Novorossiya; the fact that Russia’s global “isolation” has been proved in practice to be nonsense; and tweaking the most visible pain dial of them all: Europe’s dependence on Russian energy.
The main reason for the graphic, thundering failure of the G20 Foreign Ministers summit in Bali is that the G7 – or NATOstan plus American colony Japan – could not force the BRICS plus major Global South players to isolate, sanction and/or demonize Russia.
On the contrary: multiple interpolations outside of the G20 spell out even more Eurasia-wide integration. Here are a few examples.
The first transit of Russian products to India via the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) is now in effect, crisscrossing Eurasia from Mumbai to the Baltic via Iranian ports (Chabahar or Bandar Abbas), the Caspian Sea, and Southern and Central Russia. 

Crucially, the route is shorter and cheaper than going through the Suez Canal.
In parallel, the head of the Iranian Central Bank, Ali Salehabadi, confirmed that a memorandum of interbank cooperation was signed between Tehran and Moscow.
That means a viable alternative to SWIFT, and a direct consequence of Iran’s application to become a full BRICS member, announced at the recent summit in Beijing. 

The BRICS, since 2014, when the New Development Bank (NDB) was founded, have been busy building their own financial infrastructure, including the near future creation of a single reserve currency. 

As part of the process, the harmonization of Russian and Iranian banking systems is inevitable.
Iran is also about to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at the upcoming summit in Samarkand in September.
In parallel, Russia and Kazakhstan are solidifying their strategic partnership: Kazakhstan is a key member of BRI, EAEU and SCO.
India gets even closer to Russia across the whole spectrum of trade – including energy.
And next Tuesday, Tehran will be the stage for a crucial face-to-face meeting between Putin and Erdogan.
Isolation? Really?
On the energy front, it’s only summer, but demented paranoia is already raging across multiple EU latitudes, especially Germany. 

Comic relief is provided by the fact that Gazprom can always point out to Berlin that eventual supplying problems on Nord Stream 1 – after the cliffhanger return of that notorious repaired turbine from Canada – can always be solved by implementing Nord Stream 2.
As the whole European Suicide Spectacular Summer Show is nothing but a tawdry self-inflicted torture ordered by His Master’s Voice, the only serious question is which pain dial level will force Berlin to actually sit down and negotiate on behalf of legitimate German industrial and social interests.

Rough and tumble will be the norm. Foreign Minister Lavrov summed it all up when commenting on the Declining Collective West Ministers striking poses like infantile brats in Bali to avoid being seen with him: that was up to “their understanding of the protocols and politeness.”
That’s diplo-talk for “bunch of jerks”. Or worse: cultural barbarians, as they were even unable to respect the hyper-polite Indonesian hosts, who abhor confrontation.

Lavrov preferred to extol the “joint strategic and constructive” Russian-Chinese work when faced with a very aggressive West. 

And that brings us to the prime masterpiece of shadowplay in Bali – complete with several layers of geopolitical fog.
Chinese media, always flirting with the opaque, tried to put its bravest face ever depicting the over 5-hour meeting between Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Secretary Blinken as “constructive”.

What’s fascinating here is that the Chinese ended up letting something crucial out of the bag to slip into the final draft of their report – obviously approved by the powers that be.
Lu Xiang of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences went through previous readouts – especially of “Yoda” Yang Jiechi routinely turning Jake Sullivan into roasted duck – and stressed that this time Wang’s “warnings” to the Americans were “the sternest one in wording”.
That’s diplo-code for “You Better Watch Out”: Wang telling Little Blinkie, “just look at what the Russians did when they lost their patience with your antics.”
The expression ”dead end” was recurrent during the Wang-Blinken meeting. 

So in the end the Global Times had to tell it like it really is: “The two sides are close to a showdown.”
“Showdown” is what End of Days fanatic and Tony Soprano wannabe Mike Pompeo is fervently preaching from his hate pulpit, while the combo behind the senile “leader of the free world” who literally reads teleprompters actively work for the crashing of the EU – in more ways than one.
The combo in power in Washington actually “supports” the unification of Britain, Poland, Ukraine and The Three Baltic Midgets as a separate alliance from NATO/EU – aiming at “strengthening the defense potential.” That’s the official position of U.S. Ambassador to NATO Julian Smith.
So the real imperial aim is to split the already shattering EU into mini-union pieces, all of them quite fragile and evidently more “manageable”, as Brussels Eurocrats, blinded by boundless mediocrity, obviously can’t see it coming.
What the Global South is buying
Putin always makes it very clear that the decision to launch Operation Z – as a sort of pre-emptive “combined arms and police operation”, as defined by Andrei Martyanov – was carefully calculated, considering an array of material and socio-psychological vectors.
Anglo-American strategy, for its part, lasers on a single obsession: damn any possible reframing of the current “rules-based international order”. 

No holds are barred to ensure the perpetuity of this order. This is in fact Totalen Krieg – featuring several hybrid layers, and quite worrying, with only a few seconds to midnight.
And there’s the rub. Desolation Row is fast becoming Desperation Row, as the whole Russophobic matrix is shown to be naked, devoid of any extra ideological – and even financial – firepower to “win”, apart from shipping a collection of HIMARS to a black hole.
Geopolitically and geoeconomically, Russia and China are in the process of eating NATOstan alive – in more ways than one. 

Here, for instance, is a synthetic road map of how Beijing will address the next stage of high-quality development via capital-driven industrial upgrading, focused on optimization of supply chains, import substitution of hard technologies, and “invisible champions” of industry.
If the collective West is blinded by Russophobia, the governing success of the Chinese Communist Party – which in a matter of a few decades improved the lives of more people than anyone, anytime in History – drives it completely nuts.
All along the Russia-China watchtower, it’s been not such a long time coming. 

BRI was launched by Xi Jinping in 2013. After Maidan in 2014, Putin launched the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) in 2015. 

Crucially, in May 2015, a Russia-China joint statement sealed the cooperation between BRI and EAEU, with a significant role assigned to the SCO.
Closer integration advanced via the St. Petersburg forum in 2016 and the BRI forum in 2017. 

The overall target: to create a new order in Asia, and across Eurasia, according to international law while maintaining the individual development strategies of each concerned country and respecting their national sovereignty.
That, in essence, is what most of the Global South is buying. It’s as if there’s a cross-border instinctual understanding that Russia-China, against serious odds and facing serious challenges, proceeding by trial and error, are at the vanguard of the Shock of the New, while the collective West, naked, dazed and confused, their masses completely zombified, is sucked into the maelstrom of psychological, moral and material disintegration.
No question the pain deal will be ratcheted up, in more ways than one.

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May 29 Vanity of Vanities! All is vanity
Law & Politics

May 29 Vanity of Vanities! All is vanity

Vanity[a] of vanities, says the Preacher,
vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
and hastens[b] to the place where it rises.
What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has been already
in the ages before us.
There is no remembrance of former things,[c]
nor will there be any remembrance
of later things[d] yet to be
among those who come after.
Ecclesiastes 1:2-11 2 11 [1]

In the same article Cummings continues

Blofeld: Kronsteen, you are sure this plan is foolproof?
Kronsteen: Yes it is, because I have anticipated every possible variation of counter-move.

Politics therefore suffers from a surfeit of narcissists.
The occupants of No10, like Tolstoy’s characters in War and Peace, are blown around by forces they do not comprehend as they gossip, intrigue, and babble to the media.
The MPs and spin doctors steer their priorities according to the rapidly shifting sands of the pundits who they are all spinning, while the pundits shift (to some extent unconsciously) according to the polls.
The outcome? Everybody rushes around in tailspins assembling circular firing squads while the real dynamics of opinion play out largely untouched by their conscious actions.
In terms of a method to ‘manage’ government, it is not far from tribal elders howling incantations around the camp fire after inspecting

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24-JAN-2022 :: The Charge of the Light Brigade
World Of Finance

24-JAN-2022 ::  The Charge of the Light Brigade

.@MittRomney described #Russia as a gas station parading as a country.

“Forward, the Light Brigade!” 

Was there a man dismayed? 

Not though the soldier knew
Someone had blundered. 

Theirs not to make reply, 

Theirs not to reason why, 

Theirs but to do and die. 

Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.

Returning to  the ''geopolitical'' scenario, it is clear that looking through the deluge of hashtags, Russia has largely triangulated Europe. The Gas dependency is real

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Sunday, April 10, 2022 Apocalypse Now
Law & Politics

Sunday, April 10, 2022 Apocalypse Now

The democratization of authority spurred by the digital revolution has flattened cognitive hierarchies along with other hierarchies, and political decision-making is now driven by often weaponized babble. @FukuyamaFrancis

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They fancied themselves free, wrote Camus, ―and no one will ever be free so long as there are pestilences.

They fancied themselves free, wrote Camus, ―and no one will ever be free so long as there are pestilences.

In this respect, our townsfolk were like everybody else, wrapped up in themselves; in other words, they were humanists: they disbelieved in pestilences.

A pestilence isn't a thing made to man's measure; therefore we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away.

But it doesn't always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away, and the humanists first of all, because they have taken no precautions

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
Euro 1.003000
Dollar Index 108.559
Japan Yen 139.0270
Swiss Franc 0.982900
Pound 1.183040
Aussie 0.674145
India Rupee 79.94950
South Korea Won 1323.970
Brazil Real 5.423700
Egypt Pound 18.874800 
South Africa Rand 17.136770

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Consumer inflation in Ghana accelerated to 29.8% annually in June from 27.6% in May, official data showed on Wednesday, Inflation last hit 29% in January 2004. Reuters

Consumer inflation in Ghana accelerated to 29.8% annually in June from 27.6% in May, official data showed on Wednesday, Inflation last hit 29% in January 2004. Reuters

Transport, which includes fuel, registered the highest price growth at 41.6%. Diesel saw 99.7% year-on-year inflation while petrol prices were up 69.4%.

Housing, which includes water, electricity and gas, saw a 38.4% increase and food inflation rose to 30.7%. Bread prices were up 44.5%.

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Ghana returned to central bank financing in March. This likely continued during 2Q22 and contributed to the spike in inflation to 30%. @Markbohlund

Ghana returned to central bank financing in March. This likely continued during 2Q22 and contributed to the spike in inflation to 30%. @Markbohlund

The govt projects a 41% QoQ decrease in net domestic debt issuance in 3Q22, raising further questions as to how it is currently financing itself.

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Kenyan Elections—Another Test in the Country’s Democratic Journey @AfricaACSS
Law & Politics

Kenyan Elections—Another Test in the Country’s Democratic Journey @AfricaACSS 

Kenyans will vote in August in their fifth presidential elections since the introduction of multiparty politics in 1991. 

The competitiveness of the elections, and uncertainty over the outcome, distinguishes Kenya from many of its neighbors. 

President Uhuru Kenyatta is stepping down, following the completion of his constitutionally limited two terms in office. This, too, makes the Kenyan elections noteworthy, given the recent trend of African leaders sidestepping term limits as a means of extending their time in power—to the detriment of stability. 

Rather, Kenya has a tradition of transfers of power even between candidates from opposing parties.
Still, elections in Kenya remain a period of high tension. 

Kenyans recall the large-scale violence that erupted after the 2007 elections when supporters of Raila Odinga, and his then running mate, William Ruto fought over what Odinga’s side saw as an effort by President Mwai Kibaki and his top lieutenants including (current President) Uhuru Kenyatta, to “steal” the election. 

The Rift Valley was engulfed in deadly violence pitting the Luo and Kalenjin communities—respectively loyal to Odinga and Ruto—against Kenya’s largest ethnic community, the Kikuyu, from which Kibaki and Kenyatta hail. 

Over 3,000 people were killed, and 600,000 uprooted. Many remain displaced today.

The 2013 and 2017 polls, tightly contested between Odinga and Kenyatta (and his running mate, Ruto), were marred by electoral fraud. 

The Supreme Court required a rerunning of the 2017 contest due to the irregularities.
This recent history has raised questions about Kenya’s ability to hold free and fair elections—and the 2022 elections will provide a benchmark for how much progress has been made.
The potential for violence remains high according to a report by the independent National Cohesion and Integration Commission, due to pre-existing conflicts and weak institutions. 

Some young people have told the Commission that they are being paid by politicians to intimidate rivals and disrupt their campaigns. 

Kenyans’ trust in their institutions is low: only 26 percent trust the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), and just 23 percent trust the courts despite the courts’ taking high-profile stances of independence. 

A report by the Mozilla Foundation warns that hate speech, misinformation, and disinformation are widespread (though not by the candidates themselves), with some manipulated hashtags getting over 20 million views.

The Principals and Their Parties
A quintessential feature of Kenyan politics is that the same pool of politicians tends to dominate the political process, though they may be in different camps depending on the election— sometimes friends, sometimes bitter rivals

The whipping up of ethnic animosities, especially around land in the Rift Valley, is another feature of Kenyan politics. 

This is where some of Kenya’s most productive lands, previously reserved for European settlers, are located.

The frontrunners of the upcoming polls embody many of these dynamics. 

Raila Odinga (77) and William Ruto (55) have worked together as senior government officers and, at times, as vigorous opponents in every election since the early 1990s. 

They were on opposite sides under President Daniel arap Moi, the same side against Mwai Kibaki in the infamous 2007 poll that ended in catastrophic violence in the Rift Valley, and are on opposite sides again this time around. 

The enmity between them has made this election more about personalities than policies.
Odinga is making his fourth and likely final run for office. He is currently viewed as a an “establishment candidate” since President Kenyatta is backing his candidacy following their famous “handshake” reconciliation in 2018.
Odinga’s Azimio La Umoja alliance (“Resolution in Unity” in Swahili) is a coalition of seven major political parties, three of which contested previous elections as bitter adversaries. 

This includes the Kenya African National Unity (KANU) that ruled Kenya as a one-party state until 2002 and once detained Odinga, the incumbent Jubilee/National Rainbow Coalition (NARC), and its rival from 2007 elections, the Orange Democratic Movement, then led by Odinga and Ruto.
The Azimio La Umoja alliance is organized around older-generation politicians dating back to the 1990s and a populist program

Inawezekana (“It Can Be Done”), that includes extensive social welfare initiatives: universal healthcare,  Inua Jamii, Pesa Mfokoni (“uplifing the vulnerable together by putting money in their pockets”), which is a direct cash transfer of 6,000 shillings ($50) per month to needy families; and Azimio la Kina Mama (“the unity of our mothers and aunties”), which is universal financing for women-led small businesses.

William Ruto had a falling out with Kenyatta in 2018, ending a two decades-old partnership dubbed “Uhuruto.” 

He presents himself as an “insurgent candidate,” deriding the Odinga ticket as a continuation of the dynastic politics of the Odinga and Kenyatta families that have loomed large over Kenya since independence.
Jaramogi Oginga Odinga (Raila’s father) and Jomo Kenyatta (Uhuru’s father) were comrades who led Kenya to independence and were considered co-founding fathers until they fell out in the mid-70s over Jaramogi’s demand for multiparty politics. 

Ruto has framed his election around the slogan of Hustler Nation (aimed at those who are at the bottom of the social pyramid) and has depicted the elections as a struggle between “hustlers” and “dynasties.”
William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza alliance (“Kenya First”) assembles nine parties that have also undergone multiple transformations since the Moi era. 

Some of them—like Ruto himself—were either on Odinga’s side or with Kenyatta in previous elections. 

It, too, promises an extensive and populist social welfare program targeted particularly at the youth. 

Key pledges include a so-called “hustler fund” for women’s cooperatives and Kenyan women abroad, workers compensation, universal healthcare, and Pesa Kwa Vijana (“putting money in the hands of the youth”), a program that targets “wealthy dynasties” for wealth and land redistribution

Ruto has also pledged to enact a policy requiring spousal consent in all land transactions to protect women and children from dispossession of family land.
It is notable that both tickets recycle elites who have dominated the Kenyan scene since the Daniel arap Moi era but under different banners. 

This serves to perpetuate the personalization of politics. Namely, parties have tended to be organized as vehicles for winning votes rather than offering alternative policies. 

Indeed, the two frontrunners—Odinga and Ruto—have traded accusations throughout the campaign, not on policy positions, but about their personal stories and having an unfair advantage due to their access to state machinery.

These populist platforms are clearly targeting young people as a key constituency that is up for grabs. 

Kenya’s unemployment rate among the 18-to-34 age group is nearly 40 percent, and the economy cannot absorb the 800,000 youth joining the workforce annually. 

This is a restive cohort as can be seen in some of the placards at rallies that include slogans such as: “The youths are suffering,” “I lost my job,” “Vitu ni different kwa ground” (“things are different on the ground”), and “I need a job.”  

Such unmet expectations make this segment of society susceptible to being mobilized for violence.
Meanwhile, many other youth, typically the segment of the population that champions reforms, are apathetic—seeing little difference between the candidates and parties. 

The IEBC had set a goal of registering 6 million new voters given the growing youth cohort. Instead, it­­ ended up only registering 2.5 million. 

Some of this lack of enthusiasm is a result of targeted disinformation, fostering confusion and disillusionment.

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Kenyan Elections—Another Test in the Country’s Democratic Journey @AfricaACSS [continued]
Law & Politics

Kenyan Elections—Another Test in the Country’s Democratic Journey @AfricaACSS [continued]

Some Lessons Learned
Kenya’s 2010 Constitution abolished what Kenyans have long described as an all-powerful “imperial presidency,” and redirected national politics down to the grassroots. 

A new government structure was adopted consisting of 47 counties, each with an executive authority and an independent legislative branch to debate and pass legislation. 

Mechanisms were put in place to facilitate public inputs in a bottom-up process. As a result, Kenyan politics have become more county-based, and politicians must create alliances at the municipal, village, and town levels.

As one indication of this new mode of politics, Odinga and Ruto chose Kikuyu running mates, and have included Kikuyus up and down their tickets. 

Mount Kenya Province, where Kikuyus dominate, is the most populous constituency in Kenya, accounting for more than 17 percent of the vote.
In Odinga’s case, the choice of running mate is also a woman. Martha Karua, a High Court advocate and veteran of the struggle for multiparty democracy, is widely called “the iron lady.” 

She is the first woman to join a major party ticket in Kenya’s history. 

The Odinga camp is banking on her appeal with women, her anticorruption credentials, her endorsement from Mount Kenya Elders, and national recognition for her struggle against one-party rule.
Ruto’s running mate, Rigathi Gachachua, is the first politician in Kenya’s electoral history to openly identify himself as a “child of Mau Mau”—the guerillas who fought the British colonialists, and whose struggle was centered in Mount Kenya region.
Gachachua’s parents serviced the guerillas’ weapons and provided them food and ammunition. 

By creating this aura around him, the Ruto side is trying to make a clever play on a highly emotive issue in Kenya’s political discourse. 

That is, despite the legendary status of the Mau Mau in Kenyan memories, there is a widespread perception that those who took over from the British distanced themselves from the Mau Mau and left them destitute.

Both Odinga and Ruto have spent most of their campaigns outside their home turfs as they attempt to build on their strongholds. 

Odinga is dominant in 20 counties divided among his home Province of Nyanza, and the Provinces of Coast, Western, Northern, and Nairobi. 

Ruto is dominant in 15 counties located in South Rift—his home Province—and North Rift, Northern, and parts of Mount Kenya Provinces. 

This leaves Mount Kenya, Northern, Western, South Rift, and Coast as the key battleground provinces.
Some Kenyan observers say that the selection of Kikuyu running mates sends a powerful message that Kikuyu, Luo, and Kalenjin elites can work together and presents an opportunity to move past ethnic-based politics. 

This contrasts sharply with previous elections—especially 2007—when they were on opposite sides and old tensions between Kikuyu and Kalenjin peasants over land in the Rift Valley and between Kikuyu and Luo elites over Jomo Kenyatta’s perceived betrayal of Raila’s father were weaponized. 

The new alliances are seen by some as critical in healing these wounds. 

Others warn that such alliances do not necessarily guarantee peaceful outcomes but must be coupled with institutional mechanisms that constrain elites from resorting to violence.

The Institutional Guardrails
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC)
Both Odinga and Ruto have complained that the IEBC is unprepared for the upcoming polls, raising alarm bells that the candidates might not accept the results. 

Notably, the IEBC Chairman, Wafula Chebukati, who was criticized by Kenya’s Supreme Court in 2018 for failing to respect constitutional rules, is still at the helm. 

At a meeting with European diplomats on June 2, 2022, Ruto complained that up to one million voters from his strongholds had disappeared from the voter rolls. 

Chairman Chebukati dismissed this as “rumors,” saying that the missing names are those of voters who applied to vote from different polling stations.
Adding to the confusion, the IEBC announced on June 9 that it would de-register 1.18 million voters following a preliminary audit by the international accounting firm KPMG, which found numerous discrepancies: dead voters, voters registered more than once, others with fake identification, and “ghost voters.” 

For his part, Odinga has made a list of 10 demands including making the audit public, ensuring the security of printing of ballot papers, testing the election technology, and amending laws granting power to presiding officers to open sealed ballot boxes to remove faulty materials at the tally center.
On June 27, the Elections Observation Group (ELOG), an independent forum of 15 local organizations, commended Chebukati for gazetting the voter rolls, but it is unclear if Odinga’s and Ruto’s concerns have been addressed. 

However, the ELOG—which monitors polls to ensure compliance with constitutional rules—warned that the IEBC’s decision to scrap the manual register in favor of a digital register on election day could be a recipe for chaos. 

Indeed, a serious crisis erupted in 2017 when 2.5 million manually registered voters were disenfranchised due to system failures. 

In June 2022, seven NGOs took the IEBC to court arguing that millions will again be disenfranchised if the system fails like it did in 2017.
In short, the IEBC’s apparent unpreparedness may heighten tensions and be grounds for subsequent court cases in the event of a contested outcome.
Kenya’s courts have delivered subsequent landmark rulings since the Supreme Court’s call for a rerun of the 2017 polls, demonstrating that this decision was not a one-off demonstration of independence. 

The blockage of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) by both the High Court and Supreme Court was a shot across the bow that the judiciary is determined to remain more fearless than it was during the Moi and Kibaki administrations. 

If disputes erupt, complainants will undoubtedly cite the 2017 case, which set the precedent that solely requires them to show that constitutional requirements were violated as opposed to the past where they had to show irrefutable proof of undercounted votes—a much higher bar.
The 2022 electoral process has also been stoked by fears that if Raila Odinga were to win, he would  bring back the BBI. 

The BBI was an outcome of the “handshake” between Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2018. 

In 2020, it tabled sweeping constitutional amendments which among other things would have created the post of Prime Minister. 

Some have speculated that under an Odinga administration and a resurrected BBI the prime minister role would be given to Kenyatta, effectively extending his tenure and undermining the two-term rule.

The BBI was thrown out as unconstitutional by the High Court in May 2021 in a unanimous decision by its seven members. 

In August 2021, the Supreme Court upheld the ruling and dismissed a government appeal. 

In a scathing decision, it warned that constitutional amendments cannot be forced through by executive whim. “The executive” it said, “cannot run with the hares and hunt with the hounds.”
The growing independence of Kenya’s courts may be a crucial factor in ensuring a credible electoral outcome and smooth transition.

Security Forces
Kenya’s military is traditionally apolitical and stays out of electoral contests. The police and paramilitary General Service Unit, however, are frequently accused of intimidating government opponents, employing violence, and disrupting opposition campaigns. 

This election poses a unique dynamic in this regard as the two front-runners enjoy incumbency status: Odinga as the “establishment candidate,” and Ruto as Deputy President. 

At face value, this makes it unlikely that their rallies will be disrupted, or their supporters intimidated and harassed. This cannot entirely be ruled out, however. 

The Independent Policing Oversight Authority and the National Police Service Commission were established in the past decade to strengthen oversight of the police and monitor compliance with human rights standards. Progress on this front has been slow, however.
Civil Society
Kenya’s civil society has persistently engaged in the democratic process. The ELOG is monitoring the entire process and has issued statements to the stakeholders at every stage, reminding them of their constitutional obligations and educating the public about the electoral process and their rights. 

Notably, they have deployed long-term observers at the county level and put in place an alternative voter tabulation system to independently verify the results.
The Ushahidi platform, an open-source tool created in the aftermath of the 2007 election violence will also be active. 

Voters can upload real-time data and send it to a central server for processing and forwarding to responders. 

Citizens can also collect real-time information on the polls, including around the voting centers. 

Thirteen partner organizations are part of this system, which will escalate the crowdsourced data for response and action. 

Kenya’s media agencies, which have provided extensive coverage and analysis since the campaigns started, will also participate in this project. 

This vigilance and engagement will create a valuable forensic record and remind political actors that they are being observed at each step.

Much Progress, More to Be Done
Continued citizen agency will be a vital check to remind political actors that they must operate within the boundaries of the law.
Kenya enters the homestretch of the 2022 electoral season building on the lessons of past fraught elections. 

Key among these are the 2010 Constitution, the growing independence of the judiciary, and an active civil society. 

Continued citizen agency will be a vital check to remind political actors that they must operate within the boundaries of the law.
These institutional guardrails will be especially important given the questions over the IEBC’s preparedness and ability to address the parties’ concerns. 

The depth of these institutions’ resiliency will be vital to ensuring the hotly contested election—and any subsequent challenges—generates an outcome that most Kenyans accept as valid. 

If Kenya’s electoral process navigates both the upholding of term limits and the peaceful transfer of power, it will be a major step forward for Kenyans’ long journey to a more robust democracy.

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Kenya exported $685.1 million worth of goods to the United States in 2021, of which more than 75% entered duty free under AGOA, according to the Congressional Research Service -- chiefly apparel, macadamia nuts, coffee, tea and titanium ores.
Kenyan Economy

Kenya exported $685.1 million worth of goods to the United States in 2021, of which more than 75% entered duty free under AGOA, according to the Congressional Research Service -- chiefly apparel, macadamia nuts, coffee, tea and titanium ores. 

The U.S. exported $561.6 million in goods to Kenya in 2021, with aircraft, plastics, machinery and wheat among the biggest categories.

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
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July 2022

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