In the last year or so the Kenyan government has taken several hasty actions and then had to find ways to reverse them.
Some of the most notable "shoot-from-the-hip" decisions by the government of President Daniel arap Moi include these:
After the bombing of the historic Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi on New Year's eve, the government ordered that all visa applications be sent to Nairobi for approval, meaning delays of at least six weeks. The major exception was for citizens of the Commonwealth, comprising Britain and its former colonies.
It was an understandable reaction to a terrorist bombing that killed 14 and was apparently an anti-Semitic act. One catch: the suspected bombing, still not apprehended, was from Malta, a member of the Commonwealth, and therefore would not have been caught by the new visa order.
The move threatened to be a disaster for Kenya's highly developed tourist industry, one the country's biggest foreign exchange earners. After numerous complaints the regulation was quietly dropped in March, but not before it had disrupted some travel plans.
In 1978 Kenya had a bumper corn crop of more than 2 million tons, some of which for lack of storage facilities. In 1979, the government lowered the producer price of the staple of the Kenyan diet from $125 a ton to $96 and it also dropped a credit scheme guaranteeing farmers a minimum return.
As a result farmers cut back sharply on their planting of corn, production dropped by 25 percent and Kenya became a major food importer, which it still is. Officials have admitted their mistake. The price is now almost $140 a ton and a new credit scheme has been introduced.
In a well-intentioned move, the government introduced a free milk program for school children last year. The dairy industry, hit by drought, "only found out about the program by reading about it in the newspapers," a source said. As a result, milk, butter and cheese dissappeared from the markets in Kenya for months.
Concerned about a growing trade deficit, the government stopped issuing import licenses last Setpember. It also abolished a system, used mainly for importing spare parts, under which goods valued at less than about $500 could be brought in without a license.
Late in the year the ban was lifted, but the central bank is giving few authorizations for foreign exchange for imports. A number of industries are suffering a critical shortage of raw materials and may have to lay off employes.
Faced with severe shortages of spare parts, the government has once more allowed imports of under $500 without a license. A new import policy has been promised.