This week offers one of Africa’s most significant votes this year as Kenyans go to the polls on Tuesday to decide a new president.
The contest is between the current deputy president William Ruto, 55, and Raila Odinga, a 77-year-old veteran of such campaigns now on his fifth attempt at the top job. Relations with China, which has invested heavily in the country over recent decades, raising concerns among Kenyans, have become a key battleground for the campaign.
The usual rule of advantage to the incumbent has been flipped after Ruto fell out with the current president Uhuru Kenyatta, who has in turn thrown his weight behind Odinga. As a result, the contest is now wide open, according to the FT’s Africa editor David Pilling. Further FT comment on Kenya’s poll, which will also include elections for parliament and 47 local assemblies, will be posted as results come in.
Attention will also turn this week (once again) to a previous significant poll: the 2020 US presidential election. Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor turned personal attorney to former president Donald Trump, has been ordered by a New York judge to testify on Tuesday in front of a grand jury investigating attempts by Trump supporters to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results.
It is an indication of the threat the Georgia grand jury probe poses to Trump and those around him, greater some believe than the congressional January 6 committee investigation into the 2021 Capitol attack.
In other news, the UK’s Summer of Discontent over post-lockdown pay awards grinds on this week with up to 120 Red Funnel staff on the Isle of Wight ferry kicking things off with a walkout on Tuesday. More than 1,000 staff at Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, one of Northern Ireland’s largest local authorities, will hold a strike on Wednesday, affecting refuse collection, planning and leisure services.
On Friday it will be the turn of Glasgow Subway workers, a particular inconvenience for Rangers fans on a match day, followed by a (nother) national rail strike by Aslef train drivers at nine rail companies on Saturday.
On the bright side, and goodness knows we need it, Tuesday kicks off the British school exam results season with Scottish students hoping for news that they have the necessary grades in Highers and Advanced Highers to secure university and college places.
This has been the first year of students sitting exams since the pandemic so expect this to be discussed as a factor in whatever grades students will receive. It will also be a chance for a school report on the Scottish National party’s performance running education north of the border.
The headline economic news this week will be inflation data from the US and China, plus the UK’s first stab at the second-quarter gross domestic product figure.
We could also get some indication of the future movement of fuel prices with the monthly oil market reports from the Energy Information Administration and Opec. The increasing likelihood of a recession and, by extension, oil demand concerns will have an impact on these updates despite supply remaining very tight.
Like the holiday tan, the rush of company results announcements is fading for another season. The dominant theme will be insurance companies, providing further evidence of the damage being done by inflation to the sector, especially motor insurers, as the price of parts and other claims costs rise sharply.
After July profit warnings for Direct Line and Sabre, all eyes will be on Admiral’s half-year results on Wednesday to see whether its profitability and guidance can withstand the inflationary threat.
The other notable players are Aviva and Zurich. “These will provide more evidence of how the biggest, diversified groups are faring in a period of rising interest rates and a worsening economic outlook,” says my colleague, FT insurance correspondent Ian Smith.
Read the full week ahead calendar here