Jobless graduates please cut them some slack…..You messed the economy.

We messed the country and the many jobs that were promised are no longer forthcoming.

We now have the cheek to blame the young graduates who have worked hard and the parents who sacrificed everthing to see them through university and college.

They are now been blamed for not being creative and entrepreneurial enough. What nonsense is that ?

What entrepreneurship have you done yourself ? Majority in the civil service trade with goverment, cutting deals . I dare say it even majority of private sector are all pulling deals in exaggerated contracts and supplying air and you get paid.

We then dare turn around and call our young people names?

We have billionaires in town who have never invented anything let alone run any known serious business. Majority will steal and all they know is to put up highrise apartment and then wonder why they remain empty ? How can they be occupied when you played a role to kill the economy .

If you are above 35 you have no business blaming the youth struggling to give themselves hope. If you cannot lend a hand then don’t insult these struggling youth . They are jobless or struggling not because they are not creative or stupid. If anything they are far more intelligent than many of us when we were in our 20s or 30s.

To GOK please give our young people passports . Let them go try their luck in far off places. We have no business holding them here. Philippines and India their citizens in the diaspora contribute big time in remittance. Majority can’t even speak good english. Choosing not to give them this very important document is not helping them and it is not helping Kenya. Our young people are well read and they are doing well globally from North America to The Gulf. From Europe to Rest of Africa .

India is leading in outsourced call centres. How did GOK miss on that ? We have our young people Who speak very good English. Call centres will train you to speak English in a certain way , our youth already do it on their own. We failed to attract any key global call centre companies and we missed out on light industries thanks to high cost doing business like cost of electricity.

Folks it’s about time we cut the young people some slack. At least they never dipped their hands in public coffers and neither are they tribalisits.

To that Jobless Young Kenyan, Don’t be discouraged. The older folks messed up and are trying to shift the blame to you . Trust me you are smart enough to achive anything . Raise your head and say ” Not Me . I am NOT a failure”

Mohammed Hersi

It’s about time idle beach plot owners were taxed more.

Pristine World award winning Diani Beach . Very many plots are lying idle where owners are not keen to develop.

This Sunday it is matters land and I am very well aware that when it comes to land debate it is always an emotional one. When land issues are brought up before you even realise things can pretty go south quickly.

I am not going to discuss agricultural land it is even worse there but I will like to focus on beach plots. While the rest of the world have a road along the beach front for some reason ours is not the case save for a very small stretch a cliff which is current Mama Ngina Drive.

This week in my line of duty I was in Diani and as one of morning rituals was to jog along the beach. As the sun rose I could not fail to notice that good part of the magical Diani Beach is actually dead beach in the sense that former leading beach resorts lie desolate and abandoned. I mean the likes of Safari Beach Hotel The two in one Jadini Africana. Then Two fishes and next door Tradewinds.

Former Jadini Africana lying abandoned but sits right in the heart of Diani

Even when driving you cannot fail to notice the eerie feel once you get to the Two Fishes Hotel which is next to Jadini African and Tradewinds. These were all household names until the early 80’s.

There are also very many acres of ” idle ” beach fronting land .

Land fronting the beach is a prime beach plot and our beach in Kenya just like Zanzibar is pristine . This is God given and we should be utilising them to generate wealth by setting up world class resorts.

Let me raise a couple of points so that we are on the same page.

1. let me start with idle land where many were alloted by the state them days but simply refused to develop them . We also have the same issue even on North Coast .

2. Then we have secondary buyers who bought from an alottee but still chose not to develop the said plot.

3. We also have secondary buyers who bought collapsed resorts but over years also chose to do nothing with such plots but end up as speculators.

Sarova Whitesands and Travellers employ thousands both directly and indirectly

Some of the land in question can be as big as 50 acres right on the beach . To help you appreciate land size a resort like Southern Palms in Diani is on 10 acre land with 300+ rooms employing very many Kenyans directly and indirectly. Despite all the challenges in Diani they are busy renovating. A hotel like Leopard was razed by fire not once but twice but got back and even right now they are restoring the hotel after the last fire.

Southern Palms Beach Resort on 10 acre land has 600 beds employing 500+

Resorts like Baobab and Neptune all in Diani have grown three fold in the last 20 years employing directly and indirectly thousands of Kenyans .

My major concern and please take time to look at this aerial images of idle and abandoned beach plots which means we are denying our country serious income not to mention all the jobs we would have created.

Fact is that the the best part of Diani Beach is currently lying abandoned where rickety bars on the beach are cropping up with a serious danger of turning this beatiful stretch into a slum.

In the last 4 years Diani is turning the corner and global operators are looking for quality hotel beds and there are none left. When potential investors come over they are met by these greedy absentee land owners.

Way Forward.

Truth be told some of the people holding on to this chunks of land are not keen to develop anything . Some don’t bother while others when they get potential developers ask for obscene money and the suitor simply takes off never to return . Please keep in mind some of the land in question some of the owners paid nothing since it was allotted to them in good old days while others bought them cheap either from a bank or again the 70’s. Some have died still speculating, of what use is speculation .

1. Both County & National goverment MUST set up punitive laws to make it very expensive for anyone to hold onto idle prime land whether you bought or you were given . Such commercial plots are meant to be developed and they are not souvenirs.

2. Charge idle land more than developed land . This will force them to either develop or get a partners to develop. We have many international chains who want to come here but these chaps sitting on idle land are simply refusing to make it happen.

3.Dead hotels where a new owner is simply speculating must also face the heat.

4. No owner should be allowed to subdivide a prime beach plot into some useless residential homes. A residential home does NOT generate employment . It does NOT create wealth. It is like building your home on Mombasa road in Nbi. That should never be allowed to happen.

Pride Inn Hotels bought Paradise Hotel and it does not even have a huge beach but look what a serious investor like Hasnain Noorani has done . Giving us the biggest convention centre. He did not buy to speculate and wait . He has single handed brought dead Shanzu back to life.

Shanzu was dead until Pride Inn Group came in . They did not wait to speculate .

Folks it is high time we lifted the veil on who are faceless onwers of all this undeveloped and abandoned prime beach plots. Swahili have a saying ” Usiwe Joka La Mdimu” . It means don’t be the snake on a fruiting lemon tree which coils on the tree ready to strike anyone who attempts to partake the juicy ripe lemon fruits . Snakes don’t eat lemons .

Well punitive laws and taxes will force the same owners to leave the tree so to speak . Mombasa. Kwale and Kilifi counties MUST raise the tax on idle and abandoned prime beach plots. Trust me you will see the owners waking up.

As always I choose to remain an optimist .

Mohammed Hersi

Chairman

Kenya Tourism Federation

Nationalizing Kenya Airways? We have walked that path before. Please drop the plan.

Matters Kenya Airways.

While KQ team had proposed a SPV to be allowed to run JKIA it failed to get the nod and at the end the plan was abandoned.

Outgoing MD made it clear, if KQ is not given the approval to take over JKIA then it will be a dead end for KQ. He has finally resigned and waiting to exit come December.

Well our Honourable Members have now been left to decide the destiny of our national carrier. While some have proposed privatisation others are now pushing for full nationalisation.

The ones supporting full nationalisation claim that Ethiopia, Rwanda and even Emirates are all run and owned by the state hence why they are successful. Well those three countries have a different mindset and maybe even a unique DNA.

It is clear that we at times actually many times suffer from serious selective amnesia. Why would anyone forget that KQ was at one time GOK owned 100% and it was one of the worst times when it was run like most of our badly run parastatals. It was so bad that flights hardly left on time and more often than not you find yourself getting bumped out to create space for some last minute high ranking state official with his family. A head of state could virtually hijack an entire commercial aircraft for days on end on some state visit completely disrupting the flight schedules. It was at one time worse than a matatu and all that happened when it was state-owned.

Then Brian Davies walked in and carried out serious radical surgery and KQ even got listed in 1995. It was one of the few shares that you were proud to own. When Brian Davies exited the scene one of our own again showed up and sent it back to the rat hole.

I am totally against full state ownership for the following reasons .

1. We just don’t have the business mindset to separate what is state and what is personal. The moment it is state owned any high-ranking official will call the shots . Don’t look any further , National Bank , NHIF, Kenya Pipeline , Kenya Power et al. Please don’t drag in KCB and claim it is state owned. leadership at KCB is no nonsense but a strict CBK and a strict Governor are also not allowing any games to be played there . CBK is doing that role as a regulator.

2. Even under the current set up most of those aircrafts are leased and truth be said they belong to some of us . If someone is able to buy a plane and lease it to KQ they should indeed buy the airline and let them show us how great they are in business.

3. It is also clear that KQ needs serious radical surgery and more so downsizing then seek a fresh growth plan once again. KQ need to rationalize their staffing and inevitably many will have to leave but the moment you touch that then all hell is let loose. I am not surprised that the union leader is already supporting nationalization since he very well knows that siesta begins as soon as GOK takes over 100%. Show me one guy who has been fired by goverment for non performance.

My proposal on way forward.

1. GOK has no business sending good money after bad money . Seek a strategic investor to do that . If we bail out KQ once again it will NOT be the end of it . Please prepare for more bailouts using tax payers money . Please keep in mind that the faceless firms that have leased the planes to KQ are happy with this arrangement.

2. Get a serious strategic investor to buy majority shareholding . Can you imagine if Emirates were approached and in return GOK was to retain say 30% while the strategic investor takes 70%.

3. Any serious airline today is hungry to penetrate Africa. KQ is already well positioned flying to 42 countries. We are weak on cross continental and good for governance and that is where say Emirates come in. I am choosing Emirates because I find them hungry truly hungry for Africa and Nairobi becomes their hub in Africa . It is the only way we can deal with Ethiopian who have simply made leaps and bounds.

4. A strategic investor will then take charge and make it work . The faceless investors who are currently guaranteed of returns by GOK bailouts will have to take a walk including the employees who are not used to performance contracting.

There is nothing about KQ that makes it state strategic installation . It is already badly run for two decades , what is so strategic about a loss making outfit in billions of an airline? Folks it is nothing but a cow to be milked dry.

I am not for Qatar with all their issues against the rest of the GCC . I am pretty sure no European airline has the appetite for Africa hence even KLM is pussy footing to commit any fresh funds. It is about time for a fresh new suitor. Let KLM also ship out.

KQ maybe damaged goods but trust me serious investors will jump in at anytime as long as the rent seekers are paid off once and for all and kept far far away.

To Honourbale MPs. Please reject completely any plans to nationalise KQ. Please drain the swamp let a new player come in and on one condition to the investor they must retain the name Kenya Airways maybe Kenya Airways operated by XYZ and JKIA and by extension Mombasa remain a hub.

Any other plan is simply wasting tax payers money .

Yours truly

Mohammed Hersi

Dear Kenyan MP, your greed is now beyond the mark.

Open Letter To Our MP’s.

Open Letter To Our MP’s.

Dear Elected & Nominated Member Of Parliament,

I hope and trust that this note finds you in good health. It is two + years since most of you found their way to that August house where laws of the land are crafted and supposedly the well being of the nation are meant to be debated.

Some of you have been relected numerous times that you now consider parliament your second home. Well if your electorate gave you the mandate who are we to say no.

Allow me to remind you , that house is meant to be a place of respect where members are meant to serve the nation. To serve as an MP was more of a calling until some 15 years ago when greed overcome many of you. All we hear these days is about demands for more and more perks.

Your current demand will see your pay rise to anything between $21,000 and $29,000 not to mention all the other perks you are demanding with a gun on the head of SRC. I have taken the liberty to share benchmarks with rest of the world and you will notice that indeed you are the queer lot.

You actually think a car grant of $50,000 is peanuts so you are now demanding to double the same to $100,000. How many companies give such perks ? What makes you think we truly owe you all this ? You knew very well how much you were going to earn way before taking up the job. You don’t start a new job then go on a salary review chasing perks every now and then. If anything you are violating our rights as voters the employer and tax payers. That alone is enough grounds to dismiss you .

While you get paid a salary you still want to be paid another allowance called sitting allowance and now not less than 17 other allowances which simply means we pay you double for doing your work .

While you get full medical cover for self and family , without any shame you now demand cover for a second spouse. It is high time we called you put. Surely second spouse is a choice you make . If you can’t maintain her that is your problem. If it was private sector and some of you are employers would you allow your employee to make such a demand ? While you demand such your electorates are busy sharing ward beds and cant acess basic health care.

Kenyans maybe silent and may look helpless but trust me you are pushing your luck too far . You may have chosen to climb the ivory tower and you no longer see reality but I will tell you for free that Kenyans are hurting. You yes you are now upsetting Kenyans . Majority of your voters do not even know where their next meal will come from while you trash what you are served in the eatery in that house. Well if you strongly believe what you are served is not to your standard there are many places close by where you can eat what fits your palate. While the rest of the world is talking and exploring means to achive the Millennium Development Goals now Sustainable goals you are busy discussing what type of menu we must serve you , seriously ?

In African culture we hardly discuss matters food so I will not belabour that point.

Folks there are many more pressing issues that you need to be addressing as opposed to chasing these perks that make you look so bad. You indeed make us look bad as a nation in the eyes of the world.

Finally many of you are people known to us and some of you are my friends. How comes none of you is choosing to be a voice of reason and stand up for what is right . We are also aware that many of you are yet to even make that maiden speech but are active every weekend hurling abuse to both real and imagined enemies while busy dividing the same poor Kenyans with your tribal and regional narrow cheap thoughts .

Let me remind you were never forced to go to that house . If you think the pay and perks is not adequate enough , please feel free to resign and go seek greener pastures . Kenya is big and the world is even bigger . Let us know how that goes.

For you to harrass Kenyans day in day out is nothing but being insensitive to their plight.

Go reflect and please reflect hard. Soon Kenyans may simply choose to handle you the way Ukrainians handled their MP’s by looking for the nearest garbage bin. Trust me Kenyans are edging to the tipping point with your unbridled greed. Well at least you will not say I never warned you .

The donkey is now tired . Punda Amechoka.

Yours Disgusted Kenyan Voter

Mohammed Hersi
Mombasa.

Dear Captain Wanyama & Team , you can soar in Egypt .

Harambee Stars Team looking sharp and ready before departing for Egypt from their training base in France

Dear Captain Wanyama , Coach Migne & Team,

Well the wait is over and you will be parading against the best teams in African football as you carry the hopes of a whole nation.

We have always been referred to as minnows matters football but Captain you graced the Champions league finals with Totenham. In your early years you single handed marked Messi out of a champions league game when you played for Celtics.

Monsieur Migne , you are not new in Africa . If you could survive in DRC then Kenya must be some little haven for you . Monsieur trust me this time round our football fathers have really behaved and of course thanks to our goverment when they accepted your home country as a venue for final build up. Well the team truly loved the facilities and our minister did promise to ask the French goverment to help us build a similar training facility. I think my sister only needs to remind our goverment that indeed they promised us not 1 or 2 but 6 stadias. If only they keep their promise we shall have plenty of places to train that we can even hire out to foreign teams .

To the team , Kahata you recall that curving free kick one hot afternoon in Kalabar in Nigeria and for the first time Super Eagles were staring at defeat in the hands of Harambee stars right in their backyard. We want to see more of that . I have seen you do it for mighty K’Ogalo time and again. Yes you can replicate the same in the land of Mo Salah.

Joash , Kenyans as always make fun of anything and everything . Your image with dyed beard was trending for the wrong reasons. What many don’t know is that as the last man you sacrificed to earn a red card against Ghana which made Harambee carry the day . If Ronaldo had dyed his hair they would have said it was fashion. Joash just ignore them and shine.

Patrick Matasi your save pair of hands virtually denied the Ethiopians both in Nbi and Bahar Dar. They had no choice they even hired you at St George’s after your exploits. Keep focused . Please avoid dangerous tackles that can gift our opponents with a penalty.

Abud Omar , despite all the ups and downs in Eastern Europe you still maintained your sanity to retain your spot in our national team . Go for it . Mahrez or Mane should NOT scare you.

Michael Olunga you belong to Premier league and Serie A and not some league in Japan for semi retired dudes. Afcon is your golden chance to shine and be spotted. I have no doubt you got what it takes .

Musa Mohammed , get inspired by your boxer sister Zarika who is punching her way to fame despite all the challenges boxers face in Kenya. Be inspired by Musa Otieno who stood tall in defence for Kenya for a decade.

John Avire, keep in mind monsieur coach opted to have youthful you . Please don’t disappoint him . So far in the friendlies you have shown loads of promise.

Masoud Juma my Bro from Isiolo you may currently be unattached but you still remain skilful and full of power. I still have alot of faith in you . You stormed the premier league 3 years ago and off you went down south to join Cape Town City . It’s clear things did not go well as planned but this is a chance for you to bounce back .. As unattached player it means you are ready to sign for a team. Kaka you belong to Europe go for it.

Ayub Timbe oh my oh my you danced your way between those Congolese players in that last friendly. Erick Johanna, and the rest of the team dance with the ball. Be at ease with it and make us proud . If Brazilians can do it so can you .

Be inspired by Peter Dawo the man who single handed dismantled Esperance of Tunisia. Be inspired by our Rugby7s team who show dust to many rugby power houses across the world , be inspired by Eliud Kipchoge the man who wants to be the first living human being to run the marathon in sub 2 Hrs.

We have endless inspirations.

To FKF and CS Amina . Thank You for taking good care of our team and there is no reason why we cannot reach the Quarters.

Please join me to wish our team the best of luck

As always I choose to remain an optimist

Mohammed Hersi
Chairman
Kenya Tourism Federation

A double decker JKIA Westlands road is simply wasting money.

I will NEVER tire saying this

Addis Ababa have replicated what Bankgok has done. Sky train not a double decker road.

Nairobi does NOT need a double decker road from the airport to Westlands. It’s simply waste of money. If only building a wider road could solve our traffic headache why is Thika highway already a mess?

What we need is a working mass public transport system. I shared this same solution 10 years ago and many times again. Since then Dar implemented a well thought out BRT system NOT waking up and painting some tarmac then announce that we now have a BRT. I recall sharing images of Bangkok who managed to mitigate big time their choking traffic gridlock.

Well this time I share a very similar image but this time it is right next door in Addis Ababa. Look at the street below devoid of cars.

JKIA to Westlands or even Athi River to Kangemi thousands will leave their cars at home and hop on to this sky train. Well you only get to do this if your eyes are open on those benchmarking trips .

Same can be done in Mombasa . MIA all the way to Mtwapa and in future MIA to Diani.

Finally the fear that Matatu owners will be out of business is simply misplaced . If you own 20 matatus a sacco can own several coaches. A PPP can build the line , lease the line to anyone . Virgin Trains don’t own the railway line.

What is so hard in doing this ? You want to leave a legacy then this is it. In under 3 years this can be done. I believe it can be done and Nairobi can regain some sanity

When public transport works the rich ride the train the poor buy cars.

Well as always I choose to remain an optimist.

Mohammed Hersi

Chairman

Kenya Tourism Federation

You are either a PSV ( Matatu) or TSV ( Tourist Service Vehicle ). Sorry you can’t shift lanes.

PSV Vehicles / Matatus as Tour Vans .

Ministry Of Tourism & Wildlife have now banned PSVs in our national parks as along as they are not TSV qualified. TSV is Tourist Service Vehicle be it domestic or International. There are strict rules to gollow to qualify and it is managed by Tourism Regulatory Authority a GOK entity.

I have seen several write up where some of us including some of my friends have even gone ahead to claim it is racism. You know very well that when you claim there is racism in a case in Kenya the debate is lost before you even begin.

Fact: law was enacted where any firm intending to receive paying guests must apply for TSV license for both driver and the vehicle just the way you need PSV to operate as a Matatu.

First things first . The directive DOES NOT outlaw school buses if anything we encourage children to visit our park they are the future custodians of these God given resource. School buses are NOT PSVs and the directive is NOT targeting them .

Resident and anyone in a private car can also acess the park as self drive as long as they observe park rules but once they start taking paying clients then they must also conform, apply and meet the strict TSV license conditions . There is no compromise on that . Directive does NOT also outlaw private cars as long as it is a family and NOT paying passengers. You can only lie for a while if you are frequent with numerous passengers you want to qualify as ” family ” Same thing applies to PSV sector . If you attempted to use your personal car without a PSV license you’ll not know what hit you. Please ask probox owners .

Fact is that Matatus and PSVs have made nonsense of park rules and undermining all the good efforts by industry players to position Kenya as good safari destination .

Once a vehicle is a PSV and they are taking paying clients then they MUST apply for TSV and conform. One of the condition is a qualified guide not any dude who can drive. In the absence of that Matatus should stick to their lane. We DON’T invade their lane either but many times they invade ours making our industry look really bad. There is NO industry that does NOT have barriers to entry. Leading guides like Paul Kirui, Raphael Koikai, John Kangethe, Jay Kang’e will tell you how much they invest to be professional guides.

Lets be real , PSVs operate worse than cartels . Wake up and try to put your matatu on say Nbi Meru or Nbi Narok route without paying the cartels for the route and kickbacks . They even allocate you a driver and a manamba . They even decide how much to pay you. Then they want to do tourism business without any rules ? Never that must be stopped.

We want them to apply , qualify and buy TSV license which KATO does NOT control. They also don’t have to be in KATO to get TSV license and a qualified driver guide.

It is sad that some see racism in this move. Well we will not fall for that cheap stunt that sounds like a broken record. The Matatu and even that Uber at Nbi National Park were ferrying Mzungus who feel they got a good deal and in reality they’ve been ripped off with a very poor delivery and in the process making Kenya a cheap destination. If that visitor fell out of that Uber window he would be referred to as tourist and how lax we are with our park safety rules We are competing against TZ. Namibia . SA or Botswana and strict rules apply. While God has been kind enough wiyh great resource we will not a few rogue players to mess the tour industry.

How much game can you see in a Uber Chap Chap ? You saw the driver and his client half body out of the car. Is that what we are advocating for?

We see hundreds of private cars in our parks and we have no issue with that but we cannot have PSVs . Let them stick to their lane . They also have strict and punitive barriers to entry if you were to venture into that business.

Some claim tourism industry is an elitist industry. That claim holds no water. 100 % of our TSV vehicles are driven by Kenyans who are forced to qualify as guides and we can not advocate for a Matatu just to drive in and out as they please. Kenyans own the businesses and we employ thousands of Kenyans NOT guys from Siberia . We ain’t aliens .

Most of the time we keep giving the example of Rwanda , Dubai or Singapore where things work. Yes they work because they observe strict rules in anything they do. If we want law and order we must also start behaving in an orderly manner.

We fully support the move by our ministry to bring back sanity to our delicate industry. Let PSVs stick to their lane, TSVs do.

Mohammed Hersi
Chairman
Kenya Tourism Federation