Some political analysts are blaming Raila Odinga, presidential candidate of Kenya’s leading opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) for investors’ lack of confidence in the country’s economy. Odinga was reportedly quoted as saying the country’s bourse was being used for money laundering and that it was also riddled with insider trading. But Odinga denies the allegations, claiming he was misquoted. He adds that he is a social democrat who believes in capitalism with a human face.
University of Nairobi political science Professor Karibu Kinyanjui tells reporter Peter Clottey that it would be difficult for Odinga to shed the communist tag on him.
“It’s a bit late for him to be saying that because the damage has been done. He made a very serious allegation that the stock market is being fueled by monies from dubious sources, while we know very well that small investors have been in the forefront in investing in the Nairobi stock exchange. So it is very difficult now for him to assure the investors, particularly the small investors, who feel that if he continues the route he has taken, it would undermine their investment. And we have seen the chill in the stock market at the moment,” Kinyanjui pointed out.
He said by his actions, Odinga has undermined the confidence of the small investors in the Nairobi stock market.
“Looking at his allegation, and also his party taking the government to court to stop the SAFARICOM, this is definitely undermining the confidence of the investors in the stock market here in Kenya,” he said.
Kinyanjui reiterated the shattered confidence of investors in Kenya’s economy by Odinga’s actions.
“It’s the confidence of the investors who have been putting their money in the stock exchange. And in the past they have seen the returns to their investment in the stock market. So, that is the damage that the confidence of the investors is shaken by past allegation and also his party taking the government to court to stop a process, which would enable investors to buy a stake in the SAFARICOM,” Kinyanjui noted.
He explained that Odinga’s assurances would have very little effect on the lack of trust investors have in him.
“I think it would be very difficult, because his record is very clear that he has not been very keen to encourage people to invest in the stock exchange or even to invest in areas where he comes from. He has not used his political clout in some parts of this country to be able to push people into investment. And this makes it very difficult for what he is saying to be credible at this particular moment,” he said.
Kinyanjui said it was too early to see the political damage Odinga’s allegations could hurt him in his bid to become Kenya’s next president.
“It is difficult to say at this particular moment because as we know, he has a very fanatical following within the country, and these are not people likely to invest. These are people who would follow regardless of the damage it is likely to bring the economy,” Kinyanjui said.