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

Counties and their rush to build International airports makes no sense…

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Nairobi

Fact : If you already have a functioning International airport within a radius of 200KM no international airline will bother to land at your new airport. This is a fact that will NOT change tommorow. Even Dodoma new city where TZ government sits no international airline is landing there. Even Abuja Nigeria the few flights are forced ones.

Many factors come into play including altitude and many other factors that is beyond human intervention for mitigation.

An aviation expert told me ….look here no international airline would make a wasteful land and take off within a radius of 200KM. It costs big money when a Boeing or Airbus takes off so no airline would undertake any such wasteful process. Airlines are not some charity or some betting session.

What informed Kiambu and its fixation with an international airport, Nakuru is worse sitting at the base of Rift Valley . Transporting the flowers to JKIA by road is certainly a cheaper option and if SGR is to work properly and direct to JKIA even better .

We already have JKIA serving Nbi & Mt Kenya region.

Moi International Airport serving Mombasa & Kenya Coast hence Malindi will always play second fiddle and anyone who thinks Diani should be made international airport is equally day dreaming. Mombasa to Diani is hardly 35KM and now that Dongo Kundu bypass will soon be reality then best Diani can do is domestic JKIA or Wilson and one day flights between Kisumu or Eldoret.

Eldoret Airport is serving Edoret and North Rift.

Kisumu is serving lake region

Despite many years of existence of Eldoret & Kisumu none boasts of any scheduled international flight so where will Kiambu. Masai Mara or Nakuru get those scheduled flights ? From where? Going where? Airlines are driven by commercial reasons, period. Best maybe Mara can do is charter personal jets but again why would anyone fly that on a long haul flight 9 hours from Europe and even more from North America.

Its good to be ambitious but let’s also be realistic and stop wasting tax payers money.

Isiolo needed a world class abattoir NOT some useless white elephant of an airport. Let’s be realistic.

Kiambu and Nakuru and all major towns in Kenya lack proper sewage system and fresh water supply not some white elephant of an international airport.

Nakuru in my opinion like most other towns along the northern corridor they need proper truck stops . Not a single town in Kenya has planned for an official trucks rest point. NONE. They park anywhere posing all sorts of dangers to other motorists.

Let us get basics right , talk to Makueni governor who is practical in all his moves. Mangoe pulp factory, silk farming, Tomato processing factory etc.

As always I choose to remain an optimist

Mohammed Hersi
Mombasa

On matters infrastructure President Uhuru scores a straight A , you’ll appreciate him years down the line …

Long awaited Dongo Kundu Southern Bypass taking shape

Away from Politics I want to say Well Done and Asante.

While our media and most Kenyans are focused on matters politics, allow me to focus on some infrastructure development that is currently ongoing in Mombasa . Retired President Mwai Kibaki was only appreciated when he left office .

Dongo Kundu Phase1 done and dusted

let me tell you this , we may not appreciate our current President, H.E Uhuru Kenyatta today but when he leaves office and you look back at the amount of infrastructure he has executed in his term you will give him a thumbs up.

Firstly the Mombasa airport acess road which was a mess for many years was nicely fixed but Changamwe and Makupa Causeway is currently ongoing. Can the contractor tidy up the place and water the diversion to reduce dust.

I have been confused quite a bit to know what exactly is going on at the former Changamwe roundbout and I am happy to see that it is finally taking shape to be a world class interchange.

Ongoing Changamwe Roundabout taking shape

This is what many fought for for many years and what a time to be around to see it finally happening.

Then another major happening is the Dongo Kundu bypass also being fast tracked being time. Glad to see that both bridges are being fast tracked.

Well for this great road network I would like to applaud H.E The President State House Kenya Kenya National Highways Authority CS James macharia and team. Truth be told the amount of road network in Kenya and more so in Kenya coast never seen such infer any other regime. I am also happy that these are Kenya Vision 2030 projects which His Excellency has chosen continue to deliver. He could have ignored them including the Isiolo Marsabit Moyale highway which he found done halfway. Only fair to say Hongera.

What about Mombasa Economic zone …I have seen the beautiful visionary masterplan
….how comes not a single MP, Senator or Governor from Pwani is talking about it yet it can easily turn Mombasa into a one unique free port in Eastern Africa.

Dongo Kundu Bypass on the south mainland

What I would have loved to see from the leaders at the coast is for them to ask national goverment about the Mombasa Economic Zone.

Folks dont wake up when the horse has bolted.

Konza is finally happening thanks to Machakos. Makueni & Kajiado leaders.

As always I choose to remain an optimist

Mohammed Hersi
Mombasa

Leadership in Northern Kenya time to call you out ….

Today I want to address leadership in Northern Kenya which also happens to be my ancestral home.

Leadership is a privilege , your electorate deserve better

Growing up in Marsabit 40 years ago what you see in this video is what is going on in many parts of Northern Kenya be it Garissa. Wajir. Mandera. Marsabit. Isiolo and you can also add Tana River county home to one of Africas permanent and longest tiver where this video was taken.

You will notice that locals through their own initiative have been able to strike water and in the process they line up along the walls of the dam to fetch water . This is water for their animals and their own consumption.

Now each MP gets Ksh 140 million or $1.4 Million per year while every women rep gets Ksh 7M per constituency per year then add the county allocation. Some counties are known to receive Ksh 10B++ a year which is $100million ++.

Water is the most basic thing that you can ever give to mankind. Surely how much does it take to harvest rain water or worst case scenario set up boreholes and use solar or windpower to pump water and avoid all this.

I dare say as an African that we are one big let down to our people. Getting elected is a privilege, you were not elected to hide in Nbi and even worse invest your loot in Nbi.

If you are member of parliament who has served 10 years it means you handled Ksh 1.4 billion or $14 Million.

I am taking the liberty to state the figures in $$$ so that Kenyans in the diaspora can relate and above all donors . I recall some years back I was invited to an event where a western country was donating some stuff and one of them quipped ” when I look across the parking lot I see nothing but prados, half of those prado is more than the donation we are giving today “. As usual guys giggle and laughed it off but you see the shameless feel nothing but that was a heavy statement and it did stick with me for many years down the line.

Folks Africa and Kenya is NOT short of resources. We have plenty but sadly the leadership of the day feel nothing for the ordinary man and poverty is never ending.

I have seen Governors waste public resources building palatial homes and offices yet basics medicines is lacking in their county hospitals. When they fall sick they all want to be rushed to Nairobi Hospital but one thing they cannot cheat is when death comes calling.

This world is vanity , be nice to your people because they deserve better and dont come and tell me that drawing water like this is a tradition they enjoy because that is one big baloney.

If you are an MP or Governor and your people are going through these difficulties then you earn yourself a bouquet of barbs. Shame on you .

Mohammed Hersi
Mombasa

Bottom Up Economic model is nothing new , simply drop the corruption gown.

Bottom up economic model is not any new invention . The million $$$ question is how you choose to practice it.

Public spending well utilized lifts the well being of the masses.

First things first ..corruption will kill bottoms up economic model and any other model for that matter.

When banks were busy closing branches in late 90s ostensibly to get rid of unprofitable banks in smaller towns , one bank was quietly taking their place and that bank was none other than Equity Bank Kenya . It’s simple law of science , no vacuum is left.

When mobile telephone companies were licensed in Kenya , Kencel now Airtel was quick off the starting block and mobile lines were going for Ksh 200,000 and it became a status symbol. Bar waiters and barmen had to provide an extra glass for the phone owner to show the world that he indeed owned a mobile phone . This was real not some urban tales. We had true ninjas then.

When scratch cards were introduced it was in Ksh 1000 denomination because the poor Kenyan was not in the equation . How can mama mboga or a shoe shiner own a mobile phone ? They were considered then too poor to own a phone .

For banks NARC government decided they wont compete with Wanjiku to borrow from banks and that happened as soon as Kibaki took office in 2003. Banks were now left with ordinary Kenyans and remember Dr Mwangi had already positioned Equity in all the small towns where other bigger banks had fled because a client in muddy farm gumboots or some sweaty wakulima trader was not a cool customer.

On the mobile telephony side , Safaricom PLC was hived off that dinosaur KPTC hence their slow entry but again how many recall that when we accuse Safaricom of being a dominant player. Its natural to criticize when a firm does well but Safaricom worked hard to get where they are.

Safaricom invented Mpesa and guess who worked hard 24/7 to stop them ? Same banks who quit the so called small towns but glad that then acting Finance Minister John Michuki and CBK Governor Ndungu waved play on.

For banks many had to struggle to try and get their old premises back and it was a common phenomenon to see banks setting up tents at bus stops pleading to the same small man they left high and dry to come back and reopen a bank account Sunday wanjiku had many suitors.

On the other hand Safaricom decided to offer scratch card as low as Ksh 100 then Ksh 50 then Ksh 20 then known as blue and finally okoa jahazi was born. Michael Joseph and late Bob Collymore truly practiced what it means trading with the folks at the bottom of the pyramid and by empowering them that is nothing but bottoms up economy.

At goverment level bottom up economy is already in place, what is Huduma centre ? Where the masses can acess most service on the digital platform and in addition to the centers the e-citizen where from the comfort of home i can acess most services. Renewing my driving licenses without stepping out of my office is indeed amazing.

Even a more powerful indicator is about public funds . When you allocate Ksh140 million per MP per constituency per year Ksh 700Million in five years and Ksh 1.4B in 10 years . Folks Ksh 140M that is a cool $1.3million a year which is alot of money. I have seen what my MP HonMohammed Ali has been able to achieve in under 3 years or look at what Late Kibra MP delivered in his very short stint.

Each woman rep is also getting on average Ksh 7 Milion per constituency so a county like Nairobi the women rep gets more than an MP who runs CDF while Governors some handle Ksh11B + a year and then of course national goverment.

CK Prahald in his book “The fortune at the bottom of the pyramid” delves deep on how you can trade with the citizens at the bottom of the pyramid and in the process eradicate poverty and even make profits.

Succesful Safaricom has not been made successful by post paid subscribers but by prepaid subscribers. Last stats was that 85% of their subscribers were indeed pre paid so when Bob Collymore was spending more time in the slums and working with artists he knew what he was doing and in the process empowering the man and woman at the bottom of the pyramid.

When Safaricom decided to pick the lady lamenting about the floods in western Kenya in one of their ads they knew she was the face of the bottom of the pyramid who in turn help push the economy from the bottom. They stood with her not through handout but turning her into one of their brand ambassadors. While the rest of Kenyans found the plight of the lady hilarious and funny, Safaricom were seeing their customer in distress and in the process she ended up on billboards and she was a guest in our homes on our TV sets just before prime time news . Give it to Safaricom they know how to connect with the man or woman at the bottom of the pyramid.

Bottom up model in private sector is very much alive and kicking, even the consumer goods packed in smaller quantities so called kadogo economy is bottom up model and trading with the folks at the bottom of the pyramid.

The bad news is that bottom up in public sector wont work as long as we dont slay the corruption dragon and our wasteful habits. It is one thing to shout bottom up economic model but you must chose to walk Equity or Safaricom path to make it happen.

As a start please start with your local MP shouting himself or herself hoarse “Bottom up” on how they have utilised the half a billion shillings in the last 4 years or even Ksh 1 billion for those who are serving a 2nd term.

To Equity Bank Kenya Safaricom PLC and My MP Mohammed Ali I salute you for making it happen right at the bottom of the pyramid . Our political class must study Equity and Safaricom model but as they do that they must drop the corruption gown at the door.

Corruption is the enemy of Bottom Up economy and any other economic model for that matter

Well as always I choose to remain an optimist.

Mohammed Hersi
Mombasa

How much has Egypt & Sudan contributed to conserve the source of River Nile ?

Matters River Nile Ethiopia Vs Egypt & Sudan

Anytime I see a news item on River Nile it is about Egypt and how unhappy they are with the fact that Ethiopia is building a dam to use the same waters to improve the well being of it’s people. Firstly Ethiopia should be considerate but at no time should Egypt bully any other nation.

Now has Egypt & Sudan ever shown any interest to help in conservation of the water towers deep in the Ethiopian highlands? Which in turn feeds Lake Tana the true source of River Nile. It is believed that 85% of the River Nile is from the Blue Nile while the white Nile from Lake Victoria is contributing only 15%.

Has Egypt and Sudan ever shown any interest to see how to keep Lake Victoria safe and clean ?

Why does Egypt and Sudan think that the source of the nile is permanent. They must drop this entitlement mentality. Have they ever shown any care to protect and preserve the forest cover etc. I have searched everywhere I haven’t seen evidence, all I see is about some agreement signed many decades ago with a third party player who exited the scene more than half a century ago.

The fact that the river is getting more brown from it source means top soil erosion is happening big time which in turn means ground cover upstream is dwindling and automatically water volumes will drop. This is the biggest threat to River Nile not even the dam.

Even for Ethiopia they should not sit pretty . Perennial soil erosion will lead to massive siltation and before they know it half of the dam will be full of mud.

Fact is that human beings are notorious about sharing the cake provided by nature but they never talk about preserving and growing what mother nature has baked and given us. Man is a terrible consumer, he eats and destroys. Sustainability mantra only became fashionable a few years ago. Man simply upgraded from hunter gatherer mentality to mass extraction.

Look at that dam , its already brown . Look at Niagara Falls and the rivers that feed it ….its crystal clear because the forest and tree cover is intact and well managed.

Niagara falls and the rivers that feed it are all crystal clear.

Africa we are mostly good in extracting, who knows one day the river may simply stop flowing , I wonder which court Egypt will turn to or who will it threaten if that was to happen.

Imagine for once if Egypt had taken keen interest over the decades to the point that the Egyptian goverment was supporting conservation up the in the Ethiopian mountains and along the river nile riparian waters.

Imagine for once if Egyptian were visiting in their thousands every year to see the source of River Nile in Uganda and the Blue Nile in Ethiopia that sustain them downstream and they planted trees. Visiting Ethiopian highlands to check and care for the source of their livelihood would have even made them bond.

Imagine for once if every year Egypt was engaging all the countries that contribute to the well being of River Nile in conservation including my country Kenya . We see Europeans showing more interest of conserving myriad of rivers in Africa but where is Egypt? Africa’s superpower.

Let humans have some respect for mother nature .

It’s high time Egypt and Sudan were made to take responsibility for caring for the source of the Nile and the entire ecosystem. They cannot sit pretty downstream busy farming ( we buy oranges from Egypt irrigated by the same river ) sipping sugared tea and anytime they hear about the Ethiopian dam all that comes to mind is bomb it.

I am sure Ethiopia if such goodwill happened over the years it would have counted for something and I still think it is not too late in the day for Egypt & Sudan to switch the conversation to include conservation.

Brown water is a clear indicator of massive deforestation. One day the river may stop flowing

Well as always I choose to remain an optimist.

Mohammed Hersi
Mombasa

Time to free Mombasa & Kenya coast from the shackles of closed skies policy.

Iconic Mombasa elephant tusks were commissioned in commemoration of a visit to Mombasa by Queen Elizabeth in 1952

Air France just announced they have settled on Zanzibar for beach holiday seekers. If you wish to come to Mombasa you are pushed to fly through Nairobi which is totally unacceptable.

Potential visitors are not short of options be it from Goa to the Carribean , From Bali to Phuket From Dubai to Zanzibar we ain’t alone.

Mombasa cannot and should NOT continue to play second fiddle to Nairobi.

The days of protecting a national carrier is long gone . While Nairobi is purely corporate clients and safari seekers Mombasa is beach leisure travelers.

If our national carrier was serving say Paris Mombasa route I would defend them that we should NOT allow others to fly direct but they dont . Kenya is insisting you go through Nairobi and many leisure travellers just dont want to go through Nairobi.

South Africa protected a struggling South Africa Airways for decades by denying flying rights to other airlines who have always wanted to serve Cape Town and Durban directly. They finally did and leisure clients numbers to Cape Town went through the roof while Durban KZN attracting MICE segment big time reviving a destination that was dying.

When you allow say Air France or KLM direct flight to Mombasa it means firstly we get connected to many more cities across France and Netherlands then other cities globally. Allowing Turkish airlines into Mombasa means opening Germany to Kenya since Turkish airlines would fly to no less than 10 cities across Germany via Istanbul same thing with Ethiopian connecting Mombasa to 110+ cities globally.

You tell me when will KQ ever serve or reach all those cities? They have never flown to Germany let alone multiple cities.

While I have always fought and lobbied for Kenya Airways I am reaching a point where I feel that just maybe just maybe Mombasa could have done better if we never had Kenya Airways. I am getting a feeling that whoever is protecting KQ is being selfish and being short sighted. Kenya as a destination is far bigger and more important than Kenya Airways.

At the end of the day no one cares what they fly as long as they get to a destination in a safe convenient reliable affordable manner.

How can you claim you lost something you’ve never had ?

How can you claim you are losing yet you dont even serve a route in the first place . A Monsieur Francois and his better half are keen on a beach holiday and if they cant fly direct to Mombasa they will opt for Zanzibar. Does that help your coffers as a national carrier now that we have all lost ?

Surely why is it so hard to understand that?

There are many other areas that KQ can serve including cargo that they need to exploit and anyone placing hurdles to any airline wishing to fly to Mombasa is simply an enemy of Mombasa and Kenya coast I dare say that. We have over 40,000 rooms to fill along the entire Kenya coast from Shimoni to Manda.

That knee on our neck has been there for far too long ….give us room to breathe and allow us to receive international direct flight .

We ain’t asking for too much and if you only care to go back to Vision 2030 which is less than nine years to go direct flight is one of the enablers besides Kenya is a signatory to SATM Single Africa Air Transport Market and myriad open skies policies.

It’s no rocket science

Mohammed Hersi
Chairman
Kenya Tourism Federation

Giving the Kenyan Farmer a voice

#Tumainifarmers

As promised every Sunday I will dedicate a post to Farmers on my Facebook page Mohammed Hersi. While on Friday #sokohersi was for your general hustles this forum is to give farmers a voice.

In my travels and hotels business I have come across very many Famers along the Kenya coast who work hard but face serious challenges in finding a market for their produce. I have read and listened to some of their heart wrenching stories but this forum is not about lamenting . It is about doing something about it.

My dream is to help the farmer to sell his wares without ever stepping in a physical market , these farmers just don’t have the energy to fight with brokers. Let them reserve that energy to keep farming.

While this group is domiciled at the coast you are free to post your produce right here country wide.

We also encourage farmers to start looking for market way in advance as opposed to harvesting one morning and then start running around .

Please this is purely for farmers and let us respect that and the aim is to read both retail and wholesale buyers. We also will not allow imported stuff like the bleached garlic from China. We support farmed in Kenya.

Famers are also allowed to pose questions or challenges they face and hopefully get help from other seasoned farmers.

We encourage less use of harmful pesticides and organic farming is even better.

This is about giving a voice to the farmer , please join Tumaini Farmers Kenya Coast

Wishing you a fruitful sunday . Let’s salute the farmer and our goal is to make farming both fashionable and financial fulfilling.

I may NOT have the money to give you but I am here to give you the platform and the network. Your network is your networth.

Well as always I choose ro remain an optimist .

Mohammed Hersi
Mombasa

Emirates request for more frequency to Nairobi…I see nothing but great opportunities for both KQ & Emirates.

A win win partnership between Kenya Airways & Emirates can completely transform the aviation sector in Africa .

I am in Tourism and I support open skies but on the fresh request by Emirates I will choose to side with our govemernet and my good friend CS James Macharia that Emirates need to slow down but what is the other option ?

Fact: It is NOT that Emirates are not flying into Nbi. They have 7 flights weekly and they want 7 more yet we also have Air Arabia + Etihad then add Qatar in the same region.

I have taken the liberty to extract a line from what good CS has said where he was quoted in mainstream media and it is deep.

He said only the national career, KQ, can protect Kenya’s national interests in terms of emergencies. “When Covid-19 struck, we looked for airlines to evacuate our people but only KQ came in handy. We had to change configuration of two KQ planes 747 to help us ship in vaccines because no airline wanted to help us,”. I am afraid we cannot ignore this statement and throw KQ under the bus. If you look at the history of Emirates it was formed under very difficult circumstances but rest as they say is history

Now since Nairobi is such a HOT hub, we should get Emirates closer and we negotiate a deal that is a win win . We need to think at a higher level far beyond the micro request for more frequencies , where I sit that is small fry let us think BIG.

Emirates got the financial muscle and more importantly they got the discipline in corprate governance and we got God given location ( 4 hours to West Africa / South Africa / North Africa , we are the HEART and SOUL of Africa) and fairly good facility at JKIA that can be improved and of course well trained warm people.

Rwanda partnered with Qatar , nothing stops us from inviting Emirates to Nairobi and JKIA becomes their hub into Africa and we strike a win win deal NOT like the lopsided one we had with KLM. I am afraid the bad guys who always spoil a good broth would have to stay away from this, you’ve eaten enough from KQ deals please allow the few good men to salvage what is left . KQ is currently under the best care from the MD, Chairman and entire board. Men and women of dignity who given a fair chance and support will lift KQ out of this deep hole.

While others see a fight with UAE , I see a HUGE opportunity , HUGE one as the world of aviation crawls out of Covid mess.

Visualize a future where Emirates feed Nairobi big time from Middle East & rest of the world while we do most of the connection in Africa, a continent that is on one serious northerly trajectory. Simply put in the deal Emirates would have a second hub in Africa which is Nairobi in JKIA . They will then help KQ to build serious capacity to fly across Africa which is hungry for connection. Nothing stops KQ as an African airliner to set domestic hubs in other African countries that have poor road connection. Can you imagine for once KQ setting us base to connect DRC across 3 or 4 major towns out of Kinshasa or even in Africas most populace nation of Nigeria. Nigerians yearn for quality safe affordable domestic flights . It’s a shame that in 21st century some West Africans have to fly first to Paris in order to travel to a neighboring African country.

KQ is currently under the best care from the MD, Chairman and entire board. Men and women of dignity who given a fair chance and support will lift KQ out of this deep hole.

If we were to partner with Emirates It means Emirates will fly into Nairobi while KQ connects them to other cities in Africa and even more deeper than just the capital cities. It’s less hours to fly and certainly better yield. Ask yourself why flying to the Mara from Nairobi is similar cost flying to Dubai yet it is a one hour hop and I will tell you for free that such opportunities are many.

Visualize a future where Emirates are allowed to land in Mombasa and even invest in Moi International Airport bringing loads and loads of tourists. What about cargo ….lift our sweet mangoes rotting in the farms from Tana River , Malindi to Kwale and deliver them to the leading supermarkets in the middle east.

Visualize a future where Emirates cargo fly direct to Kisumu and Eldoret to lift our fresh produce without wasting time clogging already busy Nairobi which will help spread the development cake.

Emirates while it is run as a corporation main shareholder remains the government of Dubai hence KQ should fast track the nationalising plans then off load substantial shares to Emirates say 40% ( Kenya still remains a majority shareholder ) and clean and retire all debts ( Banks that hold close to 39% onwership will be happy to exit, they ended up where they are by default ) and we start a fresh. Kenya Airways code named KQ can then rise from all the difficulties like the proverbial bird Phoenix.

Visualize , Visualize , Visualize ….its free ….to visualize

As always I choose to remain an optimist. Please let’s do it and let us turn a new leaf for our national carrier.

Mohammed Hersi
Mombasa

With Covid19 vaccination we can salvage Kenyas tourism peak safari season.

Tourism staff safari guides lining up to receive the vaccine in Nairobi. Video Courtesy : Reuters

In our raft of requests to our goverment we made a special appeal for Tourism players to be given a vaccine allocation . Kenya Tourism Federation team truly worked round the clock to knock on all doors and we made all the telephone calls we needed to make.

Glad that through Ministry of Tourism And Wildlife – Kenya our CS Najib Balala , The Ministry of Health, CS. Mutahi Kagwe we were given 50,000 vaccines with first batch of 5000 vaccines being released. I must thank Jimi Kariuki Chairman KTB and MD Sarova Hotels , Fred Kaigua CEO KATO, Mike Macharia CEO KAHC, Carole Kariuki CEO Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) for the push and lobbying. Thanks to Dr Joseph Kinyua Office Of The President for hearing us out.

Let me explain why Tourism players more so the front liners had to get the jab.

  1. We came to realise that hotel workers esp in Kitchen , Restaurant staff and Room stewards all handle wet items that have been used by guests. This exposure essentially makes them front line workers as well.

While in hospital nurses and support staff including the cleaners all have PPEs hotels staff dont wear such lest you turn your hotel to look like a hospital. You have seen even airlines staff don full PPEs.

  1. Tourism business is about opening the economy. International tourism is also helping our economy to get that much needed forex inflow. Keep in mind that that we are virtually net importer from Oil & Gas to many essential items medicines etc. Without a good inflow of forex our shilling will never leave the HDU or even worse ICU.

Most of our key source markets like USA , Germany, UK et al are rolling out the vaccine in a big way . USA have already vaccinated 262 million with a goal of 300 million by end June 2021. Let’s give it to President Joe Biden , in under 100 days he has brought Covid19 under control in the US.

USA is a leading tourist source market for Kenya more so the high yield tourist who is more focused on safari and high end safari lodges and camps.

Many leading agents are now insisting that the staff who will handle their guests should show proof that they have been vaccinated and this is the one major reason why driver guides were also in the front line to get the jab.

  1. Some visitors are even insisting to carry out a rapid anti gen test to establish status of the staff who will be handling them . Well they are equally ready to take the test as well for the comfort of the staff . While this is extreme, it is part of the new normal. When you get infected its personal, you struggle alone hence everyone has a right to protect themselves.

I must commend our goverment for getting close to one million of us to get the vaccine , could they have done more ? Of course yes but again reality is that the vaccines itself is in limited supply globally. Our key source of the Astra Zeneca vaccine India is currently fighting for it’s own life with a ruthless 2nd wave. We hope and pray that we get more vaccines delivered.

The move to help get tourism players to get the vaccine was a master stroke move which even Reuters could not miss to notice hence please join me to saviour the moment.

We as Tourism players are confident that we are in a great position to salvage the peak Safari season of July to October .

In life you have a choice , to see the glass half full or half empty. Well I choose the latter , my glass is half full and as Tourism recovers I shall have a full glass.

As always I choose to remain an optimist

Mohammed Hersi
Chairman
Kenya Tourism Federation.