By Jackson Okoth
Today, all eyes will be on the political side of the Kenyan economy as the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, begins confirmation hearings on six individuals suspected to have been masterminds in the 2008 post-election violence.
These ICC proceedings are expected to have enormous impact on the local political landscape. This is because two of the suspects are front-runners in the crowded 2012 presidential polls, drawing support from some of the largest voting blocks.
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However, investors could ignore happenings at the Hague as the overall economy shows resilience to the political jitters.
"There is already fatigue in the ICC process and any outcomes there is unlikely to affect what happens to the economy, including the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) – already disturbed by a myriad of other factors," said Job Kihumba, Executive Director, Standard Investment Bank.
This round of ICC hearings is happening when Kenya’s economy is battling with dim growth prospects, occasioned by a weakening shilling, drought, rising cost of living and a falling activity at the NSE.
In an attempt to salvage the Shilling and contain inflation, CBK has also tightened its grip on the money market, starving banks of much needed cash.
Unlike months ago when the ICC pre-trial process caused jitters to the economy, observers maintain that the scenerio at present is different.
"The economy has absorbed much of the ICC process although we could still see speculative premium on the Shilling when the hearings begin," said George Bodo, an analyst at ApexAfrica Capital Limited. He added reforms in the judiciary and passage of crucial implementation clauses under the new constitution will provide the economy with much needed impetus, effectively cancelling out any negative feedbacks from the ICC process.
This ICC confirmation hearings is happening when the economy is grapping with grim statistics on cost of living. The ICC confirmation hearings is happening when the economy is grapping with grim statistics on cost of living.