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Kenya’s honeymoon with Obama has turned sour

Discussion in 'Kenyan News and Politics' started by ByaseL, Jun 5, 2009.

  1. B

    ByaseL JF-Expert Member

    Jun 5, 2009
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    Jerry Okungu

    THE adage that misfortunes never come in singles seems to be applying to Kenya with unusual frequency. Kenya’s run-in with the Obama administration seems to be gathering momentum.
    A week never passes without an unpleasant message from the White House, State Department or the local American ambassador who has lately made it his pastime to intimidate and even threaten the current Kibaki administration.

    This state of affairs is so different from the 2008 euphoria when a foreigner could have been forgiven for thinking that Kenya was America’s 51st state whose votes were guaranteed for then Senator Obama, the man with roots in Kogelo in western Kenya. Recent reports that Obama was not happy with the slow pace of reforms and his subsequent snub of Kenya have not gone down well with the Kibaki administration, least of all with many ordinary Kenyans who have a soft spot for the American President.

    The fact that Obama has decided to make Ghana and Egypt his first destinations of choice has fundamentally embarrassed Kenya in more ways than one. And as if to add insult to injury, Obama’s sudden invitation of Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania to the White House instead of Kibaki has spoken volumes of his opinion of Kenya’s current leadership.

    However, this week, this rather worsening relationship has hit a new low when the US Homeland Security Department decided to hand Kenya another blow below the belt. The cancellation of the Delta Airline flights to Kenya hit this country like a thunderbolt. It could only have come from a person that does not mean well for Kenya and the region in general.

    In the past several weeks, so many bad things have been happening to the Kenya government; what with police extrajudicial killings, Mungiki ritual murders, corruption scandals and the endless bickering between the coalition partners!

    Just about when Kenya was about to forget the bad news about Obama snubbing Kenya, one UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur, Philip Alston was heading to Geneva to table Kenya’s report in which he had indicted Kenya’s Attorney General and Police Chief for violations of human rights and recommended their immediate sacking.

    And as preparations were in top gear to send a government delegation to defend the government against accusations, a new split emerged in the coalition culminating in two feuding delegations heading for Geneva.

    This later Delta debacle took place at a time when the Geneva fiasco was still unfolding. And as one local TV newscaster put it this week, “It would appear that Kenyan politicians were now ready to wash their dirty linen in public for the rest of the world to see!”

    To observers, the Geneva drama will most likely be the final nail in Kenya’s political coffin because after that, no government will take this country seriously. The reason I say this is because in the present world order, there can only be two types of government. Either a government is autocratic or democratic. Either way, they share a few ideals in common.

    Both of them cherish order and discipline in their ranks. On the public arena, no government has ever contradicted itself. Kenya is the first and will probably be the last in 100 years.
    The Delta fiasco is a blow not only to Kenya but the rest of Africa. This flight would have made travel between East Africa and North America a mere 12-hour flight as opposed to the current 20-hour journey with between four and 10-hour layoffs in Europe.

    For those who frequent the US, Delta was a welcome change from the harrowing experiences of removing shoes, belts and coins multiple times between Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and American cities. Getting into a plane once and dropping off at an American city such as Atlanta would have reduced our jetlag, costs and time by half.

    Delta Airline was going to benefit our entire region. Tanzanians, Ugandans, Rwandans and Burundians would equally have faster connections through Nairobi. West Africans too would pick it on its way from Nairobi and vice versa. Now all that is water under the bridge until one man in the State Department will give another signal that all is now clear.

    As East Africans that were booked on that inaugural flight are nursing their frustrations, one hopes that Delta Airlines will do the most honorable thing by not only putting them on the next available flight but also compensate them for inconveniences caused to avoid lawsuits that are likely to spring up from this fiasco.
  2. Smatta

    Smatta JF-Expert Member

    Jun 5, 2009
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    ohhhh poor Kenyans, what an embarassment for them.... HECK, AS IF AMERICA WILL STOP ME FROM DRINKIN MY TUSKER TODAY... AM SO SELF CONSCIOUS.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2009
  3. Lole Gwakisa

    Lole Gwakisa JF-Expert Member

    Jun 5, 2009
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    I am glad that this piece of news has been told by a Mr Jerry Okungu whom I presume to be a Kenyan of Luo Origin.
    We have been telling our Kenya brothers time and again to get their act together for the benefit of all, including neighbours like Tanzania.
    If you think Tanzanians, stupid as most Kenyans think they are,were in a weak and meek position while advising you, now the situation is quite vivid even to the superpowers.
    I can feel the snub by Obama to the Kenyans and it is in order.Remember the proverbial Bible story of the guest who insisted to seat in the front seat only to be told to relocate to the back seat, because more important guests are on the way?
    Kenyan politicians are to blame and it is very humiliating to be told how to present yourself in world politics.
  4. Nyaralego

    Nyaralego JF-Expert Member

    Jun 5, 2009
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    OBAMA'S message is clear, let those that have ears listen and those that have eyes see.
  5. Smatta

    Smatta JF-Expert Member

    Jun 5, 2009
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    Am bumpin ma prezident is black while sippin ma tusker.. Its gud to be Kenyan at times like this.. (leans back and turns my president is black way way way way way way way way way up)
  6. M

    MzalendoHalisi JF-Expert Member

    Jun 5, 2009
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    Nimesikia KQ wamepost loss of USD 80 million?? Kuna shida gani ndugu?? maana pia KQ have 49% ownership of Precision Air ya hapa Tz!
  7. Smatta

    Smatta JF-Expert Member

    Jun 5, 2009
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    Ive heard its more than a billion, it was a projected loss coz of the high oil price at the beggining of the financial yr.. Wacha mie nile na ninywe, its ma day. Cheers.
  8. Nyaralego

    Nyaralego JF-Expert Member

    Jun 5, 2009
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    We kula happy and na ujienjoy...mie hapa kazi as per kawa...
  9. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

    Jun 6, 2009
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    The national carrier on Friday said it had posted a loss of Sh5.6 billion for the year ended March 2009
    National carrier Kenya Airways has suffered Sh5.6 billion loss for the year ended March 2009 compared to Sh6.5 billion pretax profit the airline recorded during the same period last year. It is the airline’s first loss since being privatised in 1996.

    The decline in earnings is in spite of the company’s 19 per cent growth in revenue from Sh60.4 billion in 2008 to Sh71.8 billion.

    International Air Transport Association, the aviation industry body, estimates that airlines made a combined loss of Sh680 billion in 2008 and would further make Sh376 billion loss this year.

    Although KQ’s earnings from passengers, cargo and handling services rose by over 10 per cent, the airline continued to pay high fuel prices because of its fuel hedging programme.

    Protect company

    The airlines’ hedging programme aims to protect the company against sudden increases in global fuel prices. The way it works is the airline enters into contract with a bank to guarantee fixed fuel price for a definite period of time.

    Started in 2004, the programme shielded the airline from volatile oil prices that characterised most of the second half of last year.

    But now it appears as if hedging is working against it because it has been unable to take advantage of falling fuel prices.

    During the second half of 2008 it only took five months for the price of oil to plummet from $150 to $40 a barrel, although it had on Friday risen to around $69 a barrel.

    Bound by the hedging agreement which ends in December 2010, Kenya Airways will almost certainly never benefit from the low fuel cost because it is paying $110 a barrel. The price would be slightly reduced to $108 a barrel in 2010.

    The only reprieve is that this arrangement covers 51 per cent of KQ’s fuel needs meaning the airline is free to buy the remainder from the open market.

    Addressing investment bankers and brokers at Nairobi Serena Hotel on Friday the airline’s managing director Titus Naikuni said that cancelling the fuel hedge agreement before the term ends would not be prudent.

    DAILY NATION- Kenya Airways in Sh5.6bn loss