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The role of piracy in the Kenyan economy: Another Chepkube?

Posted by Popular Ombudsman on May 23, 2009

by Odhiambo T Oketch -Nairobi, Kenya

I wish someone was a little truthful with the state of the Kenyan affairs.

We have just been given a down cast economic state of affairs. Kenya recorded a 1.7% growth last year. Most of this was in the construction sector. And this is what put me off. How can there be growth in the construction sector when there is an economic meltdown? Is this money genuine? Is this money that is powering the construction industry clean money?

In the US, the economic meltdown is being felt heavily on the housing industry and the US government is doing something to cushion the home owners from imminent loses. On the contrary, our government is recording growth in the construction industry at a time we all know there is a problem. And our government is doing nothing to help Kenyans who are being relegated to less affluent areas, courtesy of the growth in the construction sector.

The common denominator here is that it is people of Somali origins who are powering the growth Kenya is recording in the construction industry. It is also a known fact that people of Somali origins are the major players in the Indian Ocean and in Lake Victoria where piracy is the order of the day.

Eastleigh Estate has been invaded and most of our people are being evicted by the high costs of housing from there. In Gikomba Market, South B and C, and in Komarock, the same is happening. Most Kenyans are being evicted from the areas by the exorbitant rents now being charged. In cases where rent ought to be Kshs 7,000.00 for a two bed roomed house, people of Somali origins are coming in and offering the Landlords Kshs 12,000.00 per month and they pay rent one year in advance.

Could the ransoms the Somali pirates are demanding finding its way into our construction sector? Has the government investigated the source of the Somali wealth; wealth that makes them pay exorbitant rents one year in advance? Which is this lucrative business that is only exclusive to the Somali people? How come Kenyans who are working so hard cannot make such kind of money? Some of these things do not add up, and we need an explanation from our government in defense of Kenyans.

How many Kenyans can afford such rents? No wonder the Government is recording growth in the construction industry. I would have thought the Government would be taking the interest of Kenyans at heart and protecting us from this invasion.

Could it be true that the pirates have bought the Grogan area and hired our police to protect them against the mechanics?

With all due respect, could it be money from the pirates that is driving the growths recorded in the construction industry? Or, is it drug money? What is the government doing to protect indigenous Kenyans from this affront? Or do we have people in the Kenyan Government who are part of the problem?


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