The Corrupt are akin to a dog which hides its loot (bones) in unmarked foreign accounts

When I teach Governance I give this analogy matters corruption in Africa. A dog will attack a weaker dog and take away the bone it has been eating. Instead of eating , it will go and bury it then come back to attack the next weak dog.

It will do this over & over again in the course of the day until there are no more weak dogs with a bone . A dog has a habit of burying bones, it might be due to an intense hereditary survival instinct. Dogs in the wild buried bones as a means of storing them to use at a later time.

Well eith nature it starts to rain & the dog feels hungry & naturally it will remember that oh I had a bone somewhere . Now dogs are not very good with their sense of smell in wet environment. It’s muddy,  messy & it finally goes to sleep hungry and cold. More often than not it may never find that bone & most likely it will be swept away by the floods.

Now our public servant will hide his loot somewhere in Europe. I have heard many times that no civil servants should have a foreign account . You certainly need a lot of money to have a foreign account. Most of the funds are wired to some secret accounts that even their loved ones including wife(s) do not know they exists . We are all too familiar with the Panama accounts.

In old age their memory is failing  them & they are no longer able to remember where they stashed the loot ( where they hid the bone ) . Sick ,frail with failing memory ordinary people  will then be asked to contribute Mpesa for their medical & even for their funeral.

Hiding their loot is very similar to what the dog was doing. The weak dog is Eg funds for free primary school , funds meant for ARV’s , hospital funds , water projects etc etc. If only the dog enjoyed that one bone , if only the real looters could be limited to that one bone , if only the loot could have been invested in Africa to create employment etc it would have made a huge difference.

In other news close to £360M stashed by one Sani Abachi is being sent back to Nigeria at least this was not marked as unclaimed funds. Please don’t be that dog attacking weak dogs, please if you hide that ‘ bone’ share the location so that it does not go unclaimed .

Fake China Stuff Killing Kenya & Africa

I recently decided to take a walk on Moi Avenue Nairobi and I ended up visiting some of the stalls . You can see and smell fake stuff from clothes to plastic shoes that emit that acrid smell when the sun is hot.

In the past 70s to 90s we could buy a decent Made In Kenya shirt on Moi Avenue from a Patel or a Kantilal shop . Tanznaias founding father Mwalimu Nyerere once told his people ” Ukitaka London , Jirani Nairobi ni London Ndogo”. ” If you want to experience London simply go next door to Nairobi ” Sadly not anymore.

You could even buy yourself a good leather shoe I recall special brand called Tiger. It was leather company employing many local guys and of course our own Limuru Bata or even African Boots on Kenyatta Avenue all local stuff. Tiger shoes was even available in a small town like Embu where I went to school

What we have now done is to open our doors wide open in fact there is NO door . The amount of cheap and I mean cheap useless stuff that does not last even 2 weeks will shock you from toys to shoes to cloths and now even food.

Those same useless plastic stuff is what is chocking our environment. We have seen accolades being given to Eastleigh which in my opinion is the HQ of most of these fake rubbish . The so called door to door delivery from China and Dubai is the source of most illicit and fake useless stuff . Go to any rubbish pit and see the amount of toys and plastic shoes. They can still do business but bring good quality stuff even if it’s not the designer labels. China has top end , first copy all the way to most useless .

Two days ago I was in Old Town Mombasa same plastic Chinese rubbish stuff.

Folks take time off from the serious malls that are also guilty trying to make a killing. So called malls that would choose to unpack a pair of five socks or under garments and try to sell them per piece ostensibly trying to make more money, talk of greed reloaded. Then they wonder why no one is buying , their target market are not that market ignorant and they travel so they know .

Go to these many stalls and see what is being sold to majority of Kenyans which all add up to the unfavourable balance of trade with China.

Simply put Kenya is one BIG dumping ground for fakes. Well we can that claim Oh we have Kenyans earning a living but at what cost ?

It’s just not former decent shops on Moi Avenue the mess is everywhere Muindu Mbingu street or even in Westlands is nothing but one stall after the other . Chinese and more cheap fake Chinese stuff.

Go to industrial area where manufacturing used to happen is now nothing but warehouses for more and more Chinese cheap stuff from Generators to Furniture to houseware the list is endless . Don’t even get me started on edibles from powerdered milk to Fish to Garlic .

What we fail to realise is the damage these cheap plastic imports is doing to our environment.

Kenya is one BIG hawking nation. Just look at all the fake stuff guys will try to sell to you when you are stuck in traffic from a phone charger that hardly lasts 24 hours if you are lucky to make it work that is . Power banks that only go to damage you expensive phone not to mention the danger . It is only a peculiar Kenyan who will buy a genuine phone but choose to hunt for a fake dangerous power bank

As we address ourselves on how to improve manufacturing can we first fix back the door to Kenya. Fake stuff just streaming in helping the Chinese economy. KBS, KRA in one long slumber.

The irony is that the same China will make a genuine Reebok or Nike sneakers but choose to send rubbish here while our inspectors are least bothered .

If anything please give me Mitumba from Europe that will last for long to spare our rubbish pits from these Chinese disposables . The cost of going cheap will come back to haunt us decades down the line when our waterways are all poisoned. It is not too late to take action but time is not on our side.

MH

If in two weeks we don’t get Nyayo Or Kasarani ready Gor Mahia will play in exile 😂😂

Folks you may or you may NOT be a football fan.

Allow me to give you a quick update matters football and state of stadias in Kenya . Gor Mahia has qualified against all odds for the next stage by kicking out a well funded South Africa Side Supersports United in the CAF Confederations Cup. Congratulatory messages poured from all corners , you see success has many fathers.

Then someone in Nairobi decided they will renovate ( I call it dig up ) both Nyayo Stadium & Kasarani . It is a no brainer that you CANNOT revamp the two stadias at the same time then suddenly the planned renovation fall behind schedule . Machakos stadium thanks to Governor Mutua has been the saving grace but not anymore since the facilities there do not meet the next round of plays.

In 2018 , fifty five years after independence one of our team Gor Mahia will be forced to seek for a venue outside Kenya may be in Dar or Kigali which means we play both Yanga and Rayon Sports of Kigali twice in their backyard. When did the rain start beating us ?

Folks playing outside your country only happens due to war or when safety of the visiting team cannot be guaranteed . We are not at war but we have a war with mediocrity where sense of urgency is alien and accountability is non existent

On one side we claim to love and support sports . In 2018 someone is just not able to understand that football is BIG business globally. Talented footballers have single handed transformed their villages and in some cases their home towns and even their economies . Look at all the stars from latin America and West Africa who earn millions and they play alongside one of our own Victor Mugubi Wanyama. It’s very sad the people who are meant to sort such things out don’t see anything wrong .

Even at our lowest point as a nation in the 90’s we never ever forced our football team to seek refuge in a neighbouring country. It’s pains me a great deal when hopes are dashed by people who care less. We have less than 3 weeks to get either Nyayo or Kasarani ready.

If you cannot build the 5 new stadias at least maintain what you you found . I don’t think we are asking for too much. Sports tourism requires enablers like physical stadias and not some artist impression.

To Gor Mahia remain focused whether you play at home or in Siberia . Keep your eye on the ultimate goal, The Cup 🏆🏆.

As always I choose to remain an optimist but at times it gets really hard to keep the optimism thought alive.

Mohammed Hersi

That young backpacker is our future high end tourist. Please treat them well.

#WhyILoveKenya

To My fellow Kenyans allow me to share some insight that many of us would not notice .

A tourist is not only that guest who is choosing to stay at some fancy 5 or 4 star rated hotel or resort. Anyone who leaves their normal aboard and pays for accommodation in another town let alone another country and continent qualifies to be a tourist. Many of us are tourists by default.

We have many International guests who choose to stay at various budget Bed & Breakfast in Nairobi and Mombasa including homes now that we have AirBnB.

I chose to do a quick glance at two Mombasa budget hotels . These are outfits that will cost you less than $25 some even $20. They attract International guests and they are happy to stay there. Majority are students on gap year while others are seeking experiential Tourism and keen to mingle with the locals.

To these budget hotels , please be nice to all these young people staying with you . If they are happy they are the best brand Ambassdors and they’ll in turn encourage their parents to visit Kenya who will happily stay in that 4 or 5 star property.

One more thing they ought to be safe , if anything happened to them they may be a Belgian , British , Australian tourist et al they still remain a subject of those countries . They will NOT be classified as that Australian or Japanese in a budget hotel. Help us avoid unnecessary travel advisories.

To my tourism colleagues it is in our best interests that we embrace and positively influence these budget hotels because majority host future tourists to our 4 or 5 star hotel and resorts besides these young people truly experience the real Kenya . It is in our best interest we mentor these homestays and budget outfits.

To the owners of these small hotels you now all pay catering levy which means you are entitled to free training by Kenya Utalii College during their annual refresher courses that run between April & June. Please be on the look out and get as many of your staff to attend . It makes a huge difference to have skilled staff.

To CS Balala and our Tourism ministry we must help these budget outfits to get more professional and for them to truly understand and appreciate that they are a key cog in the wheels of tourism trade.

It is totally wrong for anyone to say we don’t want ” cheap ” tourists . Well even in leading cities around the world you can still get a B&B for under $25. It is NOT a Kenyan thing besides it’s a free market hence every hotel or resort has its own target market.

My fellow Kenyans when you see that group of young back packers at the SGR or aboard a bus or Matatu to Mombasa or to Western Kenya please note you have just made contact with a future high end tourist and for now a brand Ambassdor for Kenya if treated well.

As always I choose to remain an optimist

Mohammed Hersi
Chairman Kenya Tourism Federation

To The Corrupt, Kenya has enough for our need NOT your GREED

This is meant for all those corrupt people in our country.

Science has proven that irrespective of how much you own you can never improve the quality of life beyond a certain point.

Reality is that you can only sleep in one house, sleep in one bed , drive only one car at a time , you can only holiday so much , your kids can only attend one school at a time and the list can go on.

I am NOT against wealth , by all means make your genuine wealth . The ” wealth ” you make from stealing from the public is nothing but poison in your wallet or account. Don’t look too far when you realise that things are not working out in your family . You can compromise an already compromised authorities but there is one Almight God that you cannot compromise. The punishment comes in form of Karma and Karma they say has no deadline . When your only daughter or son ends up in not nice places then know that karma is paying you back in kind.

Fact: Guys who’ve made their money through genuine business are all too happy to give it back to society. Talk of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet et al. Genuine wealthy people lead very simple lives. Majority who flaunt their wealth especially in Africa are not clean. Many would hide their loot in some secret accounts in off shore places. The loot hidden out there is so much that many loose track of it and end up as unclaimed funds. Tragedy is that the same poor folks back home who stole from would be asked to contribute via Mpesa upon their demise.

How on earth do you enjoy sleep when you steal funds meant for ARV’s or medicine for public hospitals , how ??

Folks the world and let me say Kenya has enough for our needs but not enough for our GREED. Allow me to echo the words of Mahatma Ghandi.

I wish you all a pleasant week ahead and as always I choose to remain an optimist. Evil will NOT prevail for ever.

Mohammed Hersi

KQ now on right flight path but more support needed at JKIA hub.

Ethiopian has just a announced 10 new destination in six months . This is good stuff and I am very happy for our northern neighbour Ethiopia. I am sure many of us will be quick to condemn KQ. Please don’t.

KQ is now in safe pair of hands, so what next?

Big up to our govermrnet for coming to help KQ after a decade of bad governance. If our national carrier KQ is to do well then more support is needed at Operational level and they MUST be treated as the favourite airline at our JKIA hub. If you study Ethiopian , they’ve done well no doubt but the amount of support they get in a virtually closed aviation industry in Ethiopia cannot be compared to KQ. Aviation business is cut throat . I am afraid KQ does not seem to enjoy such preferential treatment. If we add the operational hiccups at our main hub then it just takes way the only major edge they would have had over the competition.

KQ team is more than ready to launch new routes that make commercial sense but they will need full support to acquire new planes.

KQ has been in clean up mode and addressing it’s huge debt portfolio which has now been sorted out. Next is to help them acquire new planes for new routes and also regain its lost market share on the African continent .

The constant litigation and never ending CBA wars is something that has constantly distracted our national carrier. Labour issues is something that never bedevil Ethiopian. We may be more capitalistic in nature but many a times we go overboard to the point of self cannibalizing.

KQ has done very well in the past and I believe we can do it again more so when someone like Michael Joseph is at the helm as chair and Sebastian as the CEO.

Basic support at JKIA must be there if we ever expect them to match Ethiopian. KQ despite all the challenges they fly in the largest number of visitors to Kenya. It is in our best interest that we have a working airline .

Please note I am NOT taking anything away from Ethiopian . They have done really well for themselves.

As always I choose to remain an optimist

Mohammed Hersi
Chairman
Kenya Tourism Federation.

Is It About Time EAC was expanded in light of TZ’s reluctance

It is all common knowledge that our southern neighbour TZ has not failed to show disdain for Kenya . They are our biggest trading partner and in my opinion that has really got into their heads but again the gap is closing and is closing pretty first . TZ is more committed to SADC and they feel more South African. Let’s not pretend that it is all loving and kiss kiss. Their current leadership has not helped matters.

Now what about this 👇👇👇

Get on board Ethiopia our northern neighbour who is very keen and respects Kenya. They value our relationship. Then extend an invite to Somalia which is rebuilding . There are very many opportunities there. While we sacrifice lives to keep Somalia safe , Turkey is busy picking the cherries in rebuilding Somalia. Extend an invite to DRC. Huge country with loads of minerals . Help them run a better country and they also speak a version of Kiswahili and we can relate easily. Extend another invite to Sudan , a big buyer of Kenyan tea and Bingo we have a new EAC minus TZ. Bringing on board Sudan may help stabilise South Sudan. Finally we will need a new capital for the new willing nations and Kisumu becomes the new Arusha . It is central and it becomes the capital of the great lakes region. They have really taken the benefits of providing EAC capital for granted. Serious food for thought .

An expanded EAC can then be renamed Eastern Africa Cooperating Countries akin to the GCC Gulf Cooperating Countries.

Living under fear of being divorced leads to an abusive relationship . We can then engage our neighbours as SADC.

As always I choose to remain an optimist

Mohammed Hersi

Malindi Tourism Woes , history & way forward

#WhyILoveKenya

Malindi Tourism Woes.

I am sure many of you have seen comments by Billionaire Flavio Briatore regarding the state of Tourism in Malindi . He even went ahead to describe Malindi as stinky not that Mombasa is any better , well nothing is further from the truth and that should worry Kilifi County , a county that is close to my heart as my better half comes from here.

My good friend HE Governor Kingi unveiled his new cabinet and they are all men and women of real substance. I have No doubt they have what it takes to turn around the fortunes of Kilifi through tourism. Majority are people who are known to me personally and we are on first name basis. Please let us clean the town and get the basics out of the way. I believe you can do that and I will not belabour on this.

So what ails Malindi ?

1. Malindi was overly dependet on one source market , The Italian market . When Italians for any reason avoid Malindi then both Malindi & Watamu got affected. It’s high time Malindi Watamu including Kilifi started to target other source markets. We have investors like Roberto Marini of Ocean Beach Resort who is key in Domestic & Regional market.

2. The collapse of Imperial bank and later Chase bank hammered the last nail on struggling Malindi tourism. The collapse of these two rogue banks played a major role to send Malindi’s Tourism to ICU. This is one silent fact that no one talks about , it is water under the bridge but it did huge damage of course coupled with the non essential travel advisory that last lasted close to 2 years.

Malindi was host to many retirees and pensioners from Italy who will spend entire winter October to April every year in this coastal town. With the attractive close to obscene interest rates many opted to deposit their life savings in these two banks and then live off interest little did they know that they were being fattened for slaughter. With no source of income many opted to fly back home.

These long stayers contributed heavily to the success of Malindi Watamus tourism and their departure is being felt to date.

3. The media constant reporting moreso between 2005 until recently Malindi as Mafia town. It is wrong to tag any place in such a negative manner. It is individuals who choose to be thugs and act Mafia not an entire destination. It is obvious that no investor will be keen to put his money in such a destination.

Iti s high time the narrative is changed and it is already changing and I urge our media to help Malindi do that.

4. Lack of easy acess to Malindi . Our national carrier pulled out of Malindi later on JamboJet their sister low cost carrier stepped in . They took long to stabilise and we hope tbey continue to grow the frequencies. I am happy to note the immediate impact of Silverstone Airlines and we look forward to an even better frequency.

One thing that Governor Kingi should do is sleep, dream and walk is constant push to get the Kilifi airport runway extended. I will urge Governor Kingi to push this agenda strongly. He may not agree with national goverment on matters politics but business cuts across both divide.

To national goverment you may have issues with both Malindi and even Mombasa counties but mandate of national goverment must be delivered . Do not drag your foot to get projects done due to such differences . If you can do a brand new big airport in Isiolo why do you find it such a hercules task to extend a simple runway to allow bigger aircrafts to land in Malindi. We have very many direct Italian charters all waiting. We even have Ethiopian airlines who are more than willing to fly direct to Malindi. Sort out the squatters mess and extend the runway . I remind national goverment that business cuts across the divide. If anything how do you reach out to an area that feel disenfranchised economically , it’s simple fix the gaps .

We have witnessed the same where national classified roads in the heart of Mombasa taking ages to get fixed. Digo Road is only receiving attention now after many months of neglect. Can you imagine leaving Uhuru Highway in Nbi with potholes Why would you allow that on Kenyatta Avenue Digo Road through to Nyerere to Likoni ferry . This is the mandate of National goverment , Mombasa is our 2nd city. Please give her it’s due status.

Way Forward .

1. My Dear Bro Governor Kingi get the team to get down to work . Malindi is small and manageable . Make it clean and envy of many . Let no investor run away because of garbage. Let Briatore’s comment fire you and your team to get things fixed. Before he departs show him what you plan to do. I know you are known to him personally . Flavio is the Italian version of Richard Branson . We need him on our side.

2. To national goverment we now demand the extension of Malindi Airport runway without any further delay. Why would a government take two decades to carry out such a basic task ?

3. To Kilifi County , Italians LOVE Malindi Watamu . Reach out to them . Welcome them back. Encourage the pensioners and retirees to come back . Malaysia has done it under their programme dubbed ” Malaysia My 2nd Home “. The pensioners will attract their grown up children and relatives to chose Malindi. Reach out to many other western countries even in the Scandinavia countries to choose Malindi Watamu.

Choosing to stay in a villa is a personal choice and criminalizing it we must stop. The constant raids by authorities should not be allowed. What we should be doing is to streamline and regulate the villas. Globally we now have AirBnb will the authorities criminalise that ?

4. To Tourism players, please wake up . Lamenting on low levels of business while choosing to do nothing you’ll not move an inch. Save for 2 or 3 hotels the rest make no efforts to attend fairs both local regional & International. Learn from Diani who go to regional fair as Destination Diani . National & County goverments will fix the enablers the rest is for you to walk the last mile.

Malindi Watamu , Kilifi and yes Vipingo are world class destination. The Destination maybe down but certainly not out.

As always I choose to remain an optimist and may Malindi rise again like the proverbial bird Phoenix.

Mohammed Hersi

Chairman

Kenya Tourism Federation