It is about time GOK called out the Visa issuing section at the US Embassy. In Kenya the same may also apply to most western embassies but for me UK and Germany ( schengen) have always been helpful and quick.
Firstly one of the reasons why an embassy would exist in another country is to facilitate travel for the citizens of the host nation in case they wish to visit that country. They are also present to serve their own citizens and the interests of their nation.
One of the main reasons why any country would be strict about visa issuance is mainly security and to control illegal economic migrants. Kenya is not a source of a security threat neither are Kenyans trying to cross the mediterranean to get to Europe. Next door neighbours like Sudan and even Ethiopians have died crossing the Mediterranean. Kenyans majority would rather stick in Kenya to make a living. The few who may go out would do so as students first and in the process may also get legal status to remain In UK or USA et al , of course we can’t rule out a few who may choose to cut loose but again the system is there to nab them. It is certainly not a crisis issue.
I am afraid to say that USA is not very keen to facilitate travel of Kenyans to the US. Yesterday a good friend with her daughter have been given an appointment date for May 2023, surely what is so technical in that an appointment has to be pushed close to one year. With the amount of information the visa sections have asked for and all the AI we got surely does it have to take that long ?
Then look at sportsmen like young Ferdinand Omanyala who is yet to get a visa. He is certainly going to miss out on a big event that could change his career . The sad bit is that even if a visa was issued he will be dead tired by the time he gets there .
Why would anyone think that Ferdinand is a threat? Of course he is a BIG threat on the track where he can easily break a world record.
Why would anyone think that Ferdinand could cut lose to hang around the US as an illegal immigrant when he has such a bright future in athletics?
The young man has a packed diary if anything he should have 10 year visa for USA. UK. Canada. Schegen where most of the athletics meet happen.
Sports is non political , sports unites the world and athletes MUST be treated in a special way not what we are witnessing with our own athletes headed to the US. When we had the Nbi meet all the US athletes simply applied for a visa on their phones and without any interviews they walked in same thing applies to anyone’s holding a US passport.
While the US may not reciprocate their visa application to that level , surely we ought to be treated in a better way . We need to see some level of reciprocity because that is what international relations and protocols dictate.
In 2019 I personally experienced the pain of being denied a US visa , in the process I missed to attend a tourism congress in the US yet I have been to the US in the past. I have always come back to my lovely Kenya and never at one time did I plan to harm anyone in the US so I was not a security threat nor an economic immigrant. If anything I stand a higher chance of being harmed while in the US with the frequent gun attacks .
Ironically at that time I was also Chairman of Kenya tourism federation and five days earlier none other than the former Ambasador hosted tourism leaders led by myself for breakfast at his residence. Little did I know that my visa application would be rejected and I was asked to provide more information which I did. I kept chasing for update and finally never got the visa and I missed to attend the congress . In the process I lost a substantial amount of money but I ended up in Turkey halfway through my planned trip to cut my loss.
As a tourism player we have fought hard to get nationals from US and many others to get visas on arrival and these days it is even better with online visa and they get it without breaking a sweat.
GOK should address this serious discrepancy and at least they should treat Kenyans in a better way and not giving dates for interviews in 2023. What is the big deal in vetting an applicant more so public figures who are well known like our record breaking athletes and the officials.
While no one at the embassy including the ambassdor can intercede this is what I was made to understand, if that is so its high time that Kenyas foreign ministry directly engaged the US goverment because this is not the way to treat citizens of a supposedly partner ftendly state.
They owe Ferdinand an apology and it is high time Embassy of the United States, Nairobi treated Kenyans a friendly nation in a better way matters visa applications.
As always I chose to remain an optimist
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