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.

The other side of President  Samia Suluhu’s visit, niceties aside ….

Businessman Rostam Aziz addressing the Kenya Tanzania private sector meeting in Nairobi

Well Her Excellency President Samia Suluhu Hassan wrapped her visit which is certainly going to open a new page between Kenya & TZ.

While we remained focused on Madam President one of her nationals was pouring his heart out how investing in Kenya is next to impossible. I have always said it ….Real ease of doing business….talk to the investors, anything else is PR.

This man is not your ordinary small timer, he is a serious investor. Rostam Abdulrasul Azizi is a Tanzanian businessman/entrepreneur and economist. According to Forbes magazine, he was reportedly the first Tanzanian dollar billionaire in 2013 with an estimated net worth of US$1 billion. He is said to own 18% of Vodafone TZ .

He was eager to invest $130M in Kenya which is Ksh 13B++in gas business. Well from his statement at the breakfast meeting he was taken in circles for 3 years and meeting our president didn’t help.

Is it that investment in gas is saturated that new players are not welcome? If that was the case why was it not made clear to him but again we are in a free market . If an investor is willing to put his money by all means please roll out the red carpet. Shida iko wapi ?

I am very keen on FDI hence this clip did not skip my attention.

Keninvest, CS Adan Mohamed & CS Betty Maina why do we make it difficult for investors? Blocking decent jobs for our young men and women who choose to fly out to middle east and laungish there .

Don’t you think Kenyans deserve an answer and this man Rostam we owe him an apology and anyone who frustrated him along the way ought to be hit hard.

Away from the niceties and the humor of this state visit, this man gave us a reality check . I have a reason to be upset and embarrased as a Kenyan .

This is how Big4 is undermined.

Mohammed Hersi
Mombasa

Thumbs up to GOK & MOH for getting 700,000+ vaccinated

Only fair to commend our goverment ( Kenya ) when they do things right.

Vaccinating 141, 146 front line healthcare workers is good progress and 700,000+ total which includes close to 400,000 who are 58+ and people with underlying conditions is highly commendable.

Have they done well? yes

Can we do better ? Certainly Yes

I am also happy to note that we are now placing an order for Pfizer , Johnson & Johnson vaccines now that India stopped export of the Astra Zeneca. Well the ones who got first dose of AZ are assured of the 2nd dose but for the rest of Kenyans will have to switch to other approved vaccines. This in itself is also a good move rather than wait for India to resume vaccine exports.

We are also happy to note that GOK has officially announced that they will vaccinate all Kenyans aged 16 and above. This is a huge statement and we are in full support.

As tourism industry we are also happy that our plea to qualify Tourism players as front line workers has been approved and 50,000 vaccines have been committed to this cause and the first 5000 vaccines will be rolled out this week. We want Kenya to be one of the few countries where hotels , tour drivers and airlines staff who come into contact with guests have all been vaccinated.

The source markets are now demanding that their guests should only be handled by vaccinated staff and that will become the norm in new new normal and as a country we dont want to be left behind.

To my fellow Kenyans while vaccine is being rolled out please continue to sanitise, social distance and mask at all times. For those who have had the vaccine, YOU will also continue to do the same.

As always I choose to remain an optimist and good people please stay stay safe with your loved ones.

Mohammed Hersi
Chairman
Kenya Tourism Federation

Dear Nairobians, Easter without You at Kenya Coast is never the same .

Lone Fishermen at Nyali Beach

Dear Nairobians,

I hope my message finds you well . I send you warm easter greetings .

Firstly it is said…you only notice something when it is gone. In normal times you would be painting Kenya coast red .

This Easter Mombasa and Kenya Coast is dead and lifeless without you good people . I mean it dead and silent without you. You may be considered noisy but what is life without some noise and happy faces?

Nairobi is our capital city, it is the seat of goverment and the only home to a UN head quarters in a developing country.

While Kenya coast is laid back Nairobians are the opposite, outgoing and also good spenders. They love fine things in life and why lie you guys love life and you love merry making.

Talk of Yuls and Nomad restaurants imagine we will miss your colorful dressing all set for the beach and in all shapes and sizes. It really did not matter whether you are a swimmer or not.

Beach hotels are all quite this morning …the airport is dead silent so is SGR which is silent with lone askaris keeping watch . If it was not for cessation of movement entire Kenya coast we would be ready ” Kupokea wageni wetu ” . Now that you are not there everyone can fill the void. Without you it’s never the same.

The taxi driver, the Tuk Tuk guys and all the eateries from Tarboush to Forodhani to Tamarind , the madafu and muhogo guys at Mama Ngina waterfront everyone has been affected. Kenya coast in Easter without you is not complete.

The supermarkets and all the Airbnbs are also silent . Milk, bread and eggs would fly off the shelves like they grew wings . While stocks ran out when you are in town, it also meant you left behind loads of money in the coast economy.

Malindi Airport would also be busy as you head to Watamu and Malindi but the roaring aircraft engines have this time all gone silent so is Diani Airport the fastest growing airport in Kenya .

The sleepy town of Shimoni is also missing you …the boat operators that would take you on guided tour now see the reality that indeed wageni wetu hawatafika.

On the beach, the vendors in normal times would be smiling since Nairobiams and others coming over meant good income for them ..from the camel handler with his rides for the young ones and even adults to Halima & Fatma who would be busy with Heena & Piko designs which will be one evidence ” Ulifika Coast “.

The local mamas that hotels would invite to make the traditional swahili breakfast are at home. They know wageni wetu kutoka Nairobi are not able to make it. They feel sad but they understand , warm greetings from them. The Viazi vya Karai , Mahamri , Mbaazi and Kaimatis will wait till next time.

Even the Matatu guys will miss you since not everyone who comes to Kenya coast stays in a beach resort.

How did I forget the Uber folks and many other taxi hailing services . It will be all silent this weekend and all those extra Ubers would be parked at home .

Dear Nairobian, it is not your wish to stay at home . It is because of this terrible virus, we thought it was done with us little did we know it was busy reloading and doing push ups to give us one serious upper cut.

From the Kenya coast , we send you warm greetings and lots of love. We will miss you but stay safe which is more important so that we can host you again with your loved ones in the not so distant future.

Wishing you all a happy Easter Mubarikwe.

Mohammed Hersi
Chairman
Kenya Tourism Federation

Dear Kenyans. Let’s NOT drop our guards. Covid19 has reloaded.

Dear Kenyans

While we focus on Tanzania and others as a country we need to improve our own behavior here. 17 fatalities on Thursday 28 yesterday and the latter is the highest ever since Covid came calling.

Then 17% positivity rate Thursday 17.5% Friday , this is serious even if the sample size is still small – its official the world is going through a serious 3rd wave and many Kenyans are back to business as usual –

No face masks in public spaces,

It’s not yet about time to abandon face masks

No physical distancing,

Mosques in Mombasa and entire coast is back to normal business save for three mosques Al Farouq , Taib and AlRahman in Nyali . All the rest are shoulder to shoulder.

Public transport is not following regulations/guidelines etc.

A good friend in Nbi sent me this ,” The youth are out of control attending weekly raves & other crowded parties, bars are full on Fridays & Saturdays which is great for business but a ‘haven’ for the virus especially when most patrons if not all are entering & walking around with no face masks, no physical distancing. They are the ones who risk getting infected & will go home to their parents who will then visit their grand parents who are most vulnerable ” well this time round age is nothing even young youth are dying so dont deceive yourself.

I asked a doctor who is a good friend to give us a general picture about the strain and this is what he wrote in our common chat group .

” It maybe a different strain. The symptoms patients are presenting with now is body chills and joints aches with no coughing or running nose or sneezing. In second wave the presenting symptoms were coughing, running nose, sore throat and coughing. In second wave the highest number in icu were in 60s now we are talking of 123 meaning double number of patients becoming critical. When you start seeing jump of deaths from 17 to 28 it means our icu facities are full to capacity and that any patients who becomes critical now will not get icu bed meaning that patient will die within hours. In brief the health systems are getting over run”.

This is certainly not a good read hence we must get out of denial and act accordingly.

GoK doesn’t need to impose more restrictions, we need to adhere to the ones that have been in place for a while & they must enforce without fear or favor where they are not being followed. Supermarkets are allowing shoppers to roam inside without masks , silly shoppers walk in with masks and moment they are in they remove them. At the till again silly shopper will come breathing on your neck had to chase some away . Use your eyes and stand at that clear point.

Things ain’t good but we can fly out of this new storm, weve done it before.

As always I choose to remain an optimist.

🙏🏾

Mohammed Hersi
Chairman
Kenya Tourism Federation

While we try very hard to explain the cost of fuel, next door landlocked Ethiopia are paying half a dollar a litre

Our northern neighbor totally landlocked are paying just about half a dollar for a litre of petrol

While we always like looking at Uganda and Tanzania , well both enjoy a lower pump price yet the former is even landlocked and their oil has to go through Mombasa where I pay more as a motorist for the same litre of fuel.

Now a benchmark that has deliberately been ignored is our northern neighbour Ethiopia, guess what ? They pay less than Ksh 60 for a little of petrol while we pay Ksh 120+.

Ethiopia is totally landlocked, we are not .

Ethiopia has to use the port of Djibouti and in future Berbera in Somaliland.

When you look at the table Ethiopia it is even able to sell fuel to its people cheaper than UAE and just about to beat even Bahrain then you wonder why manufacturers are headed there.

Ethiopia is miraculously delivering cheaper fuel than even UAE to its people and very close in beating even Bahrain

It is said information is power but that was 20 years ago , these days information is power if only you use it in a productive way. Why is Ethiopia able to deliver fuel to it’s people at less than half of what we pay? Why ? Yet they are totally landlocked. Now I understand why my cousins in Moyale prefer to cross to Ethiopia side to fuel .

I am sure many of you may also not know that Ethiopia has one of the lowest electricity costs in Africa and even globally. You see Ethiopia in their strategy they consider Fuel and Energy as critical factors for the success of any manufacturing dream. Simple economnics is that you dont heavily tax enablers , you only do that in a matured economy like Europe yes Europe.

Now let me brutal.

You see we think speaking queens english and looking sophisticated is enough to make us superior to our neighbours. While Ethiopia may have had challenging past they are positioning themselves as the China of Africa. You see China is not able to cope with global demand and they are looking at off loading low yield manufacturing so they are looking for developing countries that can do that and which is the easiest and ideal place ? Your guess is as good as mine . Ethiopia. Take a visit and go and see the industrial zones across Ethiopia.

With such low cost of fuel and low cost of electricity then what is left is trained personnel and again China and other countries that are outsourcing their manufacturing are helping them do that .

Dont even bother with Europe as a benchmark…… think hard about Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is home to Ethiopian Airlines. No other African country and even many European countries can challenge Ethiopian Airlines . They are also known for world class leather products.

Looks like we will be left speaking only good english… well the Chinese speak no English and they dont pretend to be sophisticated but they supply the world from Gucci accessories to Apple products and myriad of pharmaceutical products list is endless .

Any developing country that thinks it can spur growth by heavily taxing input like fuel and energy I am sorry that is nothing but voodoo economics.

Oh by the way before I forget on my last visit to Nairobi my hotel towel when I looked at the label it read ” Made In Ethiopia “.

Buxton point project Mombasa could be the turning point in our quest for decent low cost housing in Kenya

I am sure many of you woke up to demolition of Buxton Estate Mombasa

Current Buxton to pave way for Buxton Point . Modern and functional with ample social amenities

I recall with nostalgia visiting my Aunty as a young boy in the early 80’s and the place looked really nice.

Fast forward, due to lack of maintenance the place went to the dogs and it was condemned a couple of years ago. Leaking roofs cracked walls , broken down sewer system exposed electricals the place was no longer safe for human habitation.

Neat with pedestrian walkways

Fact: Mombasa county like many other counties does not have the financial power to set up new housing and a developer made a proposal and as usual we went to court and for the past several years the matter has dragged on in court until a ruling a couple of days

Firstly let’s address a few facts which they good judge also captured in his ruling.

These apartments belong to the county of Mombasa formerly Mombasa Municipal Council. You live there as a tenant and due to the low rent paid it was next to impossible to maintain the place. It is also a fact that real tenants moved out many moons away and rented them to 3rd parties who in turn were paying them a higher rent compared to what they were paying the county.

Fact: As a tenant , long occupation of an apartment does not turn you into an owner. If that was case many would be owners. You still remain a tenant and the day the owner wants his place you are given notice and you move out without drama.

Now Buxton is prime land in the heart of Mombasa. Please keep in mind that Mombasa is an island hence the only way is vertical hence urban housing upgrade must consider that.

The planned Buxton point will change the face of Mombasa and also show us the way on how to partner with private sector to create low cost housing. We have very many such estates across Kenya be it Mombasa . Nairobi. Nyeri
Nakuru. Kisumu etc.

Many public estates overlook social amenities but not Buxton point

To Buxton tenants you got an opportunity to live in Buxton then you were one of the lucky few who lived well in the heart of Mombasa without breaking the bank.

Many of us lived in homes without water or electricity and we all made efforts to better our lives.

In life everything has a beginning and it has an end ….kilicho na mwanzo hakikosi kuwa na mwisho.

I must congratulate two archrivals politically who puts side their political differences Governor Hon. Ali Hassan Joho and Suleiman Shahbal and agreed to progress this project.

It takes two to tango. If something is for common good of the people then real leaders read from the same script

The said apartments are not anywhere near market rate with a nice 2 bed rooms going for Ksh 3M while 3 Bed rooms going for Ksh 4.2M. If the developer was to buy the land then a 3 bedroom would be anything above Ksh 16M or even more since these is a decent low rise. It is not one of those ugly 15 storey building. If the price was to go that high then the price would shift to commercial rate making nonsense of the low coast housing.

It is also interesting to note that current occupants are each given Ksh 240,000 to help them move out and they also get first refusal option to buy an apartment while units would increase four fold allowing many more Mombasa residents a chance to live in a decent housing without breaking the bank.

In my opinion this could be the beginning of ways and means of fixing old dilapidated council houses across Kenya . As a Mombasa resident I render my full support to this project. We admire other countries but they all took painful decisions to better themselves.

When Nakumatt Thika road was brought down to pave way for Thika highway we all cried and cursed but today no one remembers that. We now have a 5 lane highway which has inspired the rest of Kenya and the region.

May Buxton Point be the Thika super highway project to inspire others in urban public housing upgrade.

Many are asking why did they move so fast to demolish ……while I also feel sorry for the tenants I am sure both the county and the investors are avoiding another case being filed which means further delays besides the writing has all along been on the wall. It was only a matter of when not if Buxton would come down.

Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore did the same thing and today we all admire Singapore.

Mombasa politicians, please dont politic . It’s now over. Let the project begin and the same should happen across Tudor , Makande , Mbaraki, et al

As always I choose to remain am optimist, may the project begin.

Mohammed Hersi

Mombasa Resident.

Holding a public office is about being fair and decent in your appointments. It’s not a favour it’s the law.

Decency is not a matter of constitution

For many years I was running a leading beach Resort way before we started talking regional balance, no Head Of Department would dare bring me a list of new employees to be contracted for my approval with one community taking more than 30% of the slots. Dont ever buy the crap that others did not apply. That is one cock & bull story. I recall being sent a list of 10 out of 11 trainess all from one community and I sent them all back. Candor with me is 2nd nature and I would not let anyone who reports to me to get away with such blatant abuse of office and simply put loads of crap.

To be fair to others and giving everyone a fair chance is true act of decency. When you hold a public office it is expected of you since the same is enacted in law.

When we give a young man from under privileged Bamba in Kilifi a chance and he happens to be only one who has found gainful employment imagine how you have been able to impact on one family. I recall such case and my friend Nick Ladu will bear me witness when we gave a young man from Bamba a chance in animation yet he had no experience whatsoever but he looked he was very keen to learn and he did very well .

There was also a young plumber who was always available to fix plumbing issues in homes in Nyali . I had a chat with him when Covid hit home in April in 2020. He told he had been laid off at his place of work in North coast and he is now cutting his losses by going back to his rural home in Taita. We kept in touch and when a position came up at Taita Hills Safari Resort & Spa the GM gave him a chance to be interviewed and he was absorbed.

Last week as I was driving back from Taita I saw an incessant caller and guess what the young man saw my car and he insisted I turn back to meet his family since his home was very much on the road and he spotted me. I did that and he took time to introduce me to his entire family including two older brothers and you could see and literally feel the gratitude .

When you see public officials refusing to look beyond their village, tribesmen and cabal of friends it’s all about decency and level of civilization. Going to some fine schools and wearing a fine designer suit is not all , it boils down to respect for others.

I have personally held and still hold key positions but I never ever just think of my village or my tribesmen or circle of friends.

Many years ago I applied for a position Assitant F&B Manager at Indian Ocean Beach Club Diani . Then F&B Manager was William Omamo . He was finally left with two candidates and my worthy competitor was a Luo fellow hotelier . William made it clear that he would not have an Assistant from his community since he believed in good balance and he also wanted to send a message to his supervisors and his peers. Folks that was way back in 1993. Bill was light years ahead of many Kenyans and that lesson stuck in my mind and I religiously practice fairness in all that I do.

I have seen time and again some CS’s ( some more notorious) who insist to make appointments from close friends and one community, let me say this TRIBE is innocent. These are bunch of friends. Period.

While BBI has many positive things , you dont need BBI to fix such blatant arrogance and impunity where you treat other Kenyans with disdain and contempt.

There is life after serving in public office so how do you want to be remembered?

I personally get alot of satisfaction when I try and spread opportunities to everyone irrespective of race tribe or colour.

Well trust me it makes a difference when we speak out and this act of impunity MUST be stopped. Kenya is not some personal property, Kenya is one proud nation of ladies & Gentlemen who all expect to get a fair chance in life. Nothing more nothing less.

As always I choose to remain an optimist.

Mohammed Hersi
Mombasa

Muslim burial rites…what exactly happens

Late King Abdulla of Saudi Arabia in simple Kafan / Sanda

I have been asked by a few of my Christian brethren about our Muslim burial rites, more so with the demise of our elder Mzee Yusuf Haji.

Firstly we rarely transport a body. You get buried where you passed away. You must be wondering Garissa would have been ideal burial place for him being a public figure. For us your burial is where maut or death will find you.

Our burials timings is mainly dictated by prayers times, remember we pray 5 times a day

Fajr. 5am or so
Dhuhur 1PM
Asr 4PM or so
Maghrib 6.30pm or so
Isha 8pm

Most of the burial prayers would coincide with the 1pm or 4pm prayers for various reasons ranging eg to allow immediate family like children to arrive etc. We try and avoid evening or nighttime burial unless it is case of accident and departed pught to be laid to rest as quickly as possible.

If there are more than a single body they are all lined up irrespective of status in society. Even the prayers it’s free status.

The body is prepared either at home or even at some mosque. Ghusl is the full body ritual purification mandatory before the performance of ritual and janaza prayer. We don’t use a coffin, we have a common built contraption that is used for everyone ( returnable)

Our mosque in South C does that very well and a few masjid in Mombasa. It is a new trend across many towns in Kenya since a Muslim passing away in your town it becomes your responsibility as a fellow muslims to give the departed bro or sister a good send off and burial. Growing up in Marsabit we used to lay to rest many muslims who die in road accidents as they head to Moyale and Ethiopia.

Once the body is ready ( The departed is wrapped in a simple plain cloth ( The Kafan) and that’s it . It costs less than 500 Bob.

The body is then carried away in a Janaza the common contraption and is placed at the back of the mosque awaiting the normal prayers to happen . Once the normal prayers have happened then announcement is made that we have a body of a departed bro or sister and if we could remain behind to join. It is considered a blessing to take part in such even if you were not known to the departed. We then bring the body to the front of the congregation.

Typically the son elder one will confer with the Imam ( Priest) and announce if there is anyone who owed the departed anything and if the departed owed anyone anything . Then the son or immediate family male member will announce that they will take responsibility.

We then all stand behind the Janaza and final prayers are led by the imam . Sometimes we have more than one body so they are all laid out in a line .

It takes less than 10 minutes and swiftly the body is picked and young men who most likely are not even known to the deceased jostle to be the ones carrying the departed.

Once at the graveyard immediate family members preferably sons and brothers to the deceased will go inside the grave which is always ready but we make a pillow to lay the head made out of mud.

Once the body has been removed from the Janaza the departed is laid inside the grave lying on their right side facing Kibla ( Mecca we all face Mecca to say our prayers. )

Wooden planks are placed as an enclosures inside and if you can’t find wood then concrete slabs is allowed.

Once done the family members step out and soil is the poured into the grave . Again total strangers mainly young men would do it and get soiled yet they may not even be known to the departed.

Once done a quick sermon is given hardly 5 to 10 minutes and we are done

We make no speeches and there are NO protocols at the mosque or at the burial site based on your worldly position. At the mosque and burial site we are all equal.

Women are not allowed at the cemetery and if they go then they can only watch from a distance. Men carry out the entire ritual once done then family members can be left behind to say extra prayers etc.

The whole burial will not last more than 30 Minutes and you are done .

If I may have skipped anything Aalahu A’alam. Allah knows best.

I hope this quick write up helps you to understand our faith.

Mohammed Hersi
Mombasa