The 21st Dec covid 19 vaccination certificate call will further mess ailing travel and tourism industry

To access a matatu of 14 passengers or a restaurant that sits 50 you are expected to present a Covid 19 vaccination certificate yet political rallies enjoy Carte blanche . Where do you stand a higher chance of contracting the virus ?

Dear Hon Mutahi Kagwe Hon Najib Balala

Firstly we appreciate all the efforts you have made as a goverment to deal and face Covid 19 challenges.

As a Tourism player I cant thank you enough for classifying tourism players as front line workers and indeed they are since they clean rooms and handle alot of wet stuff like dirty plates in restaurants etc. We say Asante and rest assured guest contact staff in most establishment we are 100% vaccinated.

My major concern is the recent directive that Kenyans and other visitors will not be allowed entry to public places if they dont show proof of vaccination. I have just seen directive from Kenya Railways implementing that rule come 21st Dec 2021.

The new rules are mainly targeted at travel , hotels and restaurant business which always seem to be the punching bag when it comes to Covid measures.

Firstly let me address a few facts and known knowns.

Fact 1. If you are vaccinated it does NOT mean you cannot be infected or carry the virus. The major benefit of the vaccine is that it will spare someone serious illness like HDU & ICU admission or even death.

Fact 2. With less than 6 Million Kenyans who have had the jab it means majority have not.

Fact 3. With extra 10 Million vaccines it means we are still far below a target of even vaccinating 50% of our population and the slowing of the virus could be attributed to herd immunity as opposed to the vaccine ( please note I am NOT anti vax. I got mine ages ago) in the process I have also managed to convince many Kenyans to take the vaccine.

The new rule is hitting ailing tourism and travel industry right below the belt .
We are already already experiencing cancellations both from local and international travellers.

Your choice of kick off date 21st Dec could not have come at worse time . It is the peak of travel which means many Kenyans would opt NOT to travel.

I have one single question for the two of you…..

What makes you think that a crowd of 300 in a hotel or 40 in a SGR coach or 40 in a restaurant or 14 in a matatu or 120 on a 45 minute flight stand a higher chance to contract Covid as opposed to all the political rallies happening around us ?

Just look at the thousands of people attending rallies by presidential aspirants William Ruto , Raila Odinga Musalia Mudavadi , Kalonzo Musyoka + Oka brigade. Kenyans show up in their thousands packed like sardines day in day out but you expect them to display their Covid vaccine certificate when the same Kenyans opt to visit their small eatery for a quick meal or take the SGR or a Matatu.

Recommendation.

  1. Please suspend this directive, it is killing the small gains we have made as tourism and travel industry. I dont want to come across as rude but I dare say it serves NO purpose.
  2. SGR travel and current measures are already tiring enough insisting for travellers to display Covid vaccine certificate is indeed pointless at this stage when you look at all the political rallies where they have even disregarded the basic Covid 19 protocols.
  3. International travel to Kenya is even worse….in addition to a PCR test you now want a Covid 19 vaccination certificate. Please keep things simple and neat and focus on PCR test which in itself is already tedious enough . If at all vaccine is to count then anyone fully vaccinated should be spared the PCR test but in light of new South African variant we can retain the PCR test . You see we are reasonable Kenyans. Zanzibar next door is laughing at us as we continue shooting ourselves in the foot.
  4. Please we need to see more campaigns in encouraging Kenyans to take the jab.

Where are the bill boards?

Where are the radio and tv ads?

Where are the wazee wa mtaa leading the campaign?

We should see strong campaign in the vernacular radio stations. Where are religious leaders pushing for the jab?

Finally taking the vaccines, we can achieve more through persuasion as opposed to coercion. Please use more of the carrot as opposed to the stick. Taking a vaccine is a very personal thing , it is about personal health. In light of the conspiracy theories and fake news there is bound to be resistance. Even first world we have families that have refused to take the vaccine and even those who have taken they are joining the rest in street demos since it infringes on personal right to make a choice hence some demos have turned violent.

Then you equally need to be RUTHLESS on those medics busy selling fake Covid19 certificates with genuine papers at Ksh 1000. That is where your focus should be and not trying to coerce and push Kenyans to take the jab.

If it is spread of the virus please we urge you not to overly focus on hotels and travel, we follow the Covid19 protocols to the letter. You could be more safer in our hotels than your own offices.

Please focus on the basics, wearing of masks is now alien, hand washing stations ( this is something Afya house ought to adopt countrywide Covid or no Covid). Handwashing has really helped to deal with common flu and other pathogens.

Please I beseech you , please allow us to breathe. Please rescind that call since that move alone is slowly closing the window of opportunity that was coming our way. Tourism and travel is not your weakest link , we are your strongest link but it so happens that we are always treated as suspect No 1.

As always I choose to remain an optimist that reason and sensibility shall prevail. Please rescind the 21st Dec call now since cancellations will flow like confetti in coming weeks. Dont wait too long in the day when the damage has been done.

Mohammed Hersi
Mombasa

Buxton Point Project is well on course, well done Gov Joho & Suleiman Shahbal

Old Buxton is now all clear for new Buxton to rise up like the proverbial bird Phoenix

A couple of weeks ago I asked my Bro a man who we are on first name basis Suleiman Shahbal about Buxton housing project.

I choose to support any project that I feel is for the common good of the people and I consider Buxton one such project.

The old Buxton was built in the 70s and without maintenance it was rendered unfit for human habitation. I am not here to talk about the old Buxton I leave that to the doubting thomases.

I asked him , how comes after so many months we are yet to see any structure coming up above the hording that was meant to conceal the project site.

His answer was simple ” Mohamed , we will surprise people and the project is very much on track”. He also invited me to go and see the site for myself when I am in town.

True to his words, several weeks later 20 blocks already rising up hence today I decided to drive in. Being a Sunday I wasn’t expecting to see anyone at work , I introduced myself at the gate and the pleasant gate keeper introduced me to a supervisor who insisted first I must wear a helmet and reflector jacket since for them safety is paramount. Being a hotelier I am impressed with such and i also found a St John Ambulance on site just in case. Wow it was beehive of activities, dont let the silence deceive you.

My handler was a young man Swaleh who was very passionate about the project and the progress they are making.

I also noticed many ladies working on site which means ladies have been given equal opportunity to get employed alongside men. They were all busy with their helmets and full kit doing serious lifting and moving.

You see a man was asked ” You have 8 hours to chop a tree , what would you do”? He gave gem of an answer ” I will spend 7 hours sharpening the axe and one hour to chop the tree”. How many of us rush into a project only to end up spending 7 hours chopping a tree and eventually giving up.

I have no doubt in my mind that Suleiman and his team at Buxton Point have been busy sharpening their axe and they have now decided to chop the tree. A clean neat site NOT crowded where health and safety is paramount.

Well I am not surprised that the noise that was coming from various quarters is dying and I personally cant wait to see this project become a reality. Mombasa island is full of old houses that can easily be converted into nice decent low coast housing. I detest the ugly stuff I see coming up in Nbi. Buxton is low rise tastefully done.

I must also salute my other Bro as well Governor Joho for choosing to support a project led by his political opponent in 2013 and 2017 elections. That is what true leadership is all about . The interest of Mombasa is far bigger than any individual.

Let Buxton Point be the turning point for public housing in Mombasa and be a benchmark for the rest of Kenya.

To Suleiman Shahbal you were brave enough to take the dive , rest assured many fathers will pop up to claim they fathered this project the day you hand over Buxton Point. Your mark in Mombasa is taking shape right in front of our eyes , they say talk is cheap.

As always I choose to remain an optimist.

NB: I was impressed with the fact that most of the mature big trees have been spared.

Mohammed Hersi
Mombasa

Where have all the bees gone? …Baringo beekeeper is asking

Where have all the bees gone ?

Baringo. Kilifi. Kwale ( Good part of Kinango ), Kilifi ( until Gov Ngilu stepped in to stop the madness ).

Cutting down of trees and charcoal trade has decimated most of the acacia trees and in the process bees die.

Use of dangerous pesticides and some of the pesticides have been banned in the west but it is still being allowed into Kenya and our authorities have chosen to remain silent.

I have raised this issue in the past and I am told that I am speaking from a privileged point , how will people survive? Cutting down a tree for charcoal is one off benefit and then what next?

Baringo is a good example, acacias have been felled for charcoal and the hives are now empty . I have pointed out in the past that bees are seriously endangered, when I see a bee I never kill it . I try to help it find it’s way out.

Without bees pollination will be a big challenge and food production will be greatly affected.

What is the solution?

  1. We politic too much , day in day out
    Well where are technocrats? Where is Kenya Forest Service to stop the destruction of trees?
  2. Where is the Pestcide control and Poisons Board – Kenya when dangerous pesticides find their way into Kenya. For many years we have been pleading that the dangerous Furudan should be banned since poachers use them to lace animal carcass to kill vultures who may fly above a dead elephant they’ve just killed exposing them . We didn’t get far.

The same poison is used by herders who lace it on carcass to poison lions and in turn Hyenas and vultures also die. ( Remember my piece on vultures, they are the natural cleansing departments by cleaning all the flesh from a carcass). Even anthrax infested carcass does not affect them which means they are doing us a favour to keep us safe but those dangerous chemicals are killing them .

  1. We must make cooking gas dirty cheap and encourage more households to go that way. In the villages help Kenyans embrace bio gas . We have enough cow dung to make it happen. In many villages in India they use bio gas.

Finally let me address H.E The President State House Kenya . You rarely talk about environment. Sir remaining few months please make this a major topic. As a family you are also in farming and without trees we are done.

Satellite images dont lie , kenya beading to be a desert and let us NOT go the Haiti way

Your excellency please get the technocrats to report to work. They are missing in action as Kenya turns into a big dessert. Driving from Voi to Mombasa is nothing but charcoal charcoal and more charcoal.

To H.E William Samoei Ruto serving DP I never hear you talk about the environment. You want to hu be the next president , I need not lecture you matters environment since you hold a doctorate in that very discipline. Your bottom up model will bottom out if the environment is not addressed.

To Hon Raila Odinga You an elder and you also want to occupy the house on the hill. You made attempts in the past to save Mau. These days I dont hear you talk about environment. It may not sound a cool topic but it is a vital topic. In your model to revamp Kenya I am afraid without environment it will not fly.

I can write and write and write when it comes to matters environment.

We may blame climate change but we equally must change our ways of doing things and show some love to our God given environment.

Once it’s gone, once we are past the tipping point it will be over. Let us not get there.

As always yours truly is choosing to remain an optimist

Mohammed Hersi
Mombasa

Thank you Dr Manoj Shah for sharing your story

On Thursday I was a guest at a special occasion where a reknown Kenyan was launching his book” One In a million ” The Biography of Dr Manoj Shah , Chairman Kingsway Group Of Companies.

The Book ” One In A Million ”

Firstly I salute anyone who puts pen to paper to share their life story when they are still alive. Most of the succesful people in the west have all managed to write about themselves when they are still alive and still doing business.

Dr Manoj and I go way back , when he was busy opening his first Mombasa branch of Kingsway tyres centre and I was a young General Manager at Nyali Beach Hotel then under Block Hotels.

Honored to receive a signed copy of ” One in a million ”

It was a sheer coincidence that he launched his book at same Nyali Beach Hotel now Nyali Sun Africa Beach Hotel which again I helped rebrand a few years ago.

Dr Manoj also supported me alot at Sarova Whitesands and would always meet him everytime he came visiting.

Dr Manoj other life is Philanthropy. While I am a Rotarian Manoj is a Lion and he rose to become the global President of Rotary, folks that is no mean achievement .

Manoj was born in Nairobi and attended Highridge Primary School and Upper Hill High School . His life was not all rosy , he worked his way up having lost his father at a young age and his book is dedicated to his late mother who struggled and worked hard to make him and siblings succeed. He picked the philanthropic trait from his late mother and he fondlly spoke of her at the function.

Dr Manoj peers are the likes of my other friend Vimal Shah who is also a true Kenyan investing right here. He fondly talks about their childhood.

I am happy that Manoj finally invested in hotel business through Tribe Hotel and latest addition Trade Mark hotel at the village market which is also another key project of its own.

Manoj and I have one thing in common….choosing to be an optimist and that trait is ably captured in his book.

Towards the end of the book Manoj emotionally talks about his battle with Covid19. He contracted the virus with his wife and daughter and he says it was a trying moment for him with his underlying conditions but he managed to recover. He titled that chapter ” Alive from the jaws of deadly Covid 19″.

Manoj thanks for the invite and it was sheer pleasure to meet you after very many years and thank you for sharing your life story with Kenyans and the world at large.

Manoj I wish you good health, happiness and more prosperity and as always I choose to remain an optimist.

Mohammed Hersi
Mombasa

NB: Manojs book is available at any good bookstore.

Betting is slowly destroying Kenya….

Betting will destroy Kenya

IMF is giving us Ksh 240B spread over 3 years ( big ceremony) while our youth blow Ksh 83B in 6 months on betting which means in 3 years we could be talking of Ksh497B on betting more than double what IMF is giving us over 36 months. 😇😇😇

Betting is mopping billions from the bottom of the pyramid

Well holding a betting license does not make your business kosher….betting in Kenya is mopping money / funds from bottom of the pyramid ( more so slums) and every young man or woman thinks she will be the next ” big ” winner.

With pomp and colour IMF is giving Kenya half of what our youth spend on gambling

Betting business is global but in Kenya they stopped responsible betting from day 1 . Banks and Safaricom are happy as conduits, but the day the youth have had enough that fire will consume us all.

This is a ticking time bomb.

Mohammed Hersi
Mombasa

About time we banned diesel Tuk Tuks. Noise & Smog 😭

The world is getting hotter ….its boiling….droughts are more frequent, last longer and more lethal .

Mombasa alone has more than 11,000 Tuk Tuks. The noise and sound pollution is nerve wrecking

While we talk of global warming….our leadership and goverment from national government to Mombasa county Government can choose to do two things .

  1. Ban with immediate effect importation of diesel powered Tuk Tuks
    They are noisy and the air is getting polluted by the day. Even India the home of Bajaj are getting rid of diesel Tuk tuks but they are happy to export the same crap to us. ( Why do we our allow these merchants to have their way ??) They behave like they have another Kenya or another planet.

Straight benefit will be less noise pollution and of course less smog and dirty air.

  1. We must plant more indigenous trees ….trees cool the earth and we have really been cutting down trees . Let’s show some love to trees . We shall continue to suffer as long as we continue to cut down trees.

Developers who want to build on every inch of space shame on you. This greed will kill you.

Fact is that we have been ruthless with mother earth and soon it wont be able to put up with our cruelty.

For Tuk Tuk operators you can double your rate and make same money by riding a petrol propelled silent engine.

Rwanda next door have just gone electric with their Boda Boda ( Nduthis ). We cant claim to be progressive when we dont care for the environment.

As always I choose to remain an optimist.

Mohammed Hersi
Mombasa

I am listening to the ground……means where is the next kill….

A common statement these days….I am listening to the ground ….in other words I am done with current kill I need to look for the next kill….. we see it every day with Hyenas in the national parks. They move looking for the next carcass giggling without shame .

Hyenas move from one carcass to the next one

Well , the Kenyan voter will end voting for individuals as opposed to a party . The days of 6 piece suit voting is long gone. Please dont waste your time struggling to push your way into a crowded political bus.

If you NEVER delivered for Wanjiku for the last 5 or even 10 years what is this nonsense that you are listening to ground ….just go away peacefully

I am overly optimistic that Kenyans will dispatch most of these jokers to political 🚮🚮🚮🚮

We deserve better and you know what ? We are in control. Casting your vote will determine who you hire or fire.

Mohammed Hersi
Mombasa

Your Excellency, it is about time we lifted the curfew

Time to lift the curfew …..

Dear Mr President State House Kenya

Firstly thank you for leading us from the front in tackling the Covid crisis, we may not have been perfect but we managed to navigate the choppy waters. Asante and Hongera .

Empty street in Nairobi

First forward matatus are now carrying full capacity, markets are open, places of worship are open and political rallies are now back in full swing including weekdays looks like we’ve scared the hell out of covid. Looks like weve hit the herd immunity threshold since Matatus are full and political rallies are always packed but again as believers we cant rule out the hand of God. Science cannot explain everything.

Your excellency rolling out the vaccine and more so for the vulnerable and seniors citizens was also a good move. The fact that it is now open to anyone above 18 at all leading hospitals both public and private are things that perennial haters would take for granted. Objective minds appreciate and applaud this move.

From the foregeoing your excellency curfew has no more relevance and it is time it was lifted. There are are many Kenyans who earn a living at night and continued closure is affecting an already struggling economy. The positive side of curfew was drop in crime rate at night but gender based violence has been on the increase and who knows if the economy is fully opended it may help.

Your excellency hospital admission is one key indicator including mortality rate , thank God it all looks well and the numbers have dropped big time and we hope and pray it stays that way.

Your excellency please give us a Mashujaa gift or even a weekend gift of lifting the curfew but we MUST continue observing the protocols since sanitizing, washing hands and wearing masks has greatly helped in reducing respiratory illnesses which was very common.

One thing that we should continue doing as Kenyans is to wear masks in crowded poorly aerated places even if its air conditioned. In the past when I am somewhere in Asia esp Thailand and China I always saw the locals wearing masks to avoid the smog and dust and I now appreciate their choice.

Your excellency, please lift the curfew and in case of sudden shift ( we hope and pray it doesn’t come to that ) you are always at liberty to take drastic measures as our CIC.

As always yours truly is choosing to remain an optimist.

Mohammed Hersi
Mombasa

Time to send FKF packing . Let FIFA ban us, it can’t get worse

Waking up to Harambee Stars hiding 5 to ❤. When Nick Mwendwa took over as FKF Chair we said , what a fine young man. He is fresh and full of energy, he also running his own football club.

Well years down the line is nothing but premium tears 🤦‍♂️😭

Age is nothing, its character. Young man, take it from me , you’ve destroyed football in Kenya and in the process you’ve killed many dreams. How do you switch coaches like diapers? I wonder where you got the latest catch of a coach? He should be allowed to cross the Mediterranean from Tangier and head back to whoever Molodva or Turkey.

Good people anyone selling you young age only as an asset for a leadership position …please run away .

Mwenda has made Nyamweya to look a saint …..best football Chairmen were Clement Gachanja and Kenneth Matiba and best coast was one Marshall Mulwa. Kenya held its head high in Africa matters football. The only coach who came close to rekindle the magic was late Fabisch.

To CS Amina and GOK. Get rid of FKF. Let FIFA ban us for 2 years and we clean house. What is the use even if we are not banned we are such an embarrassment.

Drain the swamp. Drain it and let’s reboot.

Less sophisticated countries in Africa have more stars playing in Europe…look at Mali , Gabon, even Cape Verde and even Comoros.

Kenya is land of champions NOT the whipping boys , look at our rugby 7s , they go head to head , look at our new sensation Ferdinand Omanyala going head to head with world best.

Time to send FKF home. Shame on them.

Mohammed Hersi
Mombasa

Best weekend news is to see Kenya come off the UK Red List

We are now optimistic that Kenya will be taken off the red list, let me try and enumerate why we deserve to be off the red list.

Kenya deserves to be off the red list

How the traffic-light system works: The lists are decided based on the following criteria:

🎯The percentage of a country’s population that have been vaccinated:

Though ours is still low the uptake is very encouraging and travel frontliners have all been vaccinated which is a good thing. I urge you all to take the vaccine and prioritise the elderly and vulnerable which will help us reduce the fatality rate.

🎯The rate of infection :

Our positivity rate is also going down , numbers tested maybe on the lower side but we are still far better than many countries that don’t even test on daily basis. Please also keep in mind that majority who get tested are the ones who show signs of illness hence they tend to turn positive. If mass testing was to be done trust me our positivity rate will be negligible.

🎯The prevalence of variants of concern:

Thank God we are stable and due to genome testing no new variant has been detected . Let also commend ourselves we have tried hard to protect ourselves save for the careless politicians and their rallies exposing the masses.

🎯The country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing:

Genome testing was a key concern by UK authorities. Thanks to our authorities that gap has since been closed and thanks to our Government and Ministry of Health. Many have forgotten that Kemri, Kilifi did play a big role in the oxford vaccine development. We ain’t some” Jua Kali “failed state.

🎯Why are we pushing for UK to take Kenya off the red list?

Well UK is just not any other country. Firstly the red list meant that you come to Kenya you had to self isolate for 7 days and upon return to UK you do the same again. You tell me how many travellers are willing to undergo such restrictive measures. Kenya & UK we are like Siamese twins and there is a lot going on between Kenya & UK from Tourism to trade to education etc . Heathrow is a major hub in Europe hence we should strive to get all hurdles removed.

While Kenya has been pushing it is also obvious that the corporate world UK side is also hurting and the relationship is symbiotic.

Stop Press: Kip Keino Classic athletic meet equivalent to diamond league is happening this weekend in Nairobi. We are hosting elite athletes from around the world and this comes hot on the heels of the recent world junior world athletic meet. We are serious and open for business.

Well as always yours truly is choosing to remain an optimist.

Mohammed Hersi
Mombasa