Kenya needs more Nigerian Brass

A few weeks ago, the Kenyan government announced that South Africans who travel to Kenya or transit through Nairobi would have to apply for and obtain travel visas from the facility in Pretoria, South Africa, and they would no longer be issued these on arrival in Kenya.

A few days later, this was apparently postponed, but the latest communication this is that it will indeed take effect from September 1, 2014.

The move by Kenya comes about six months after the South African High Commission shifted processing of visas for Kenyans in Nairobi to a third-party company. The move also meant that Kenyans would have to pay visa fees of about Sh10,000 ($120). Previously, visas used to be free for Kenyans visiting South Africa for short business trips like conferences.

The South Africans have since tried to clarify that there’s still no charge for the visa obtained in Nairobi, but that the fee is for the company they tasked with processing applications. This is not much comfort as going to an embassy is already an expensive process.

READ: MURUNGA: Isn’t it only fair that Kenya imposed new visa rules on South Africans?

READ: Tougher visa rules for South Africa

READ: South Africa’s new visa rules spark outcry

In addition to taking expensive pictures and paying for taxis to a secure, remote, posh part of Nairobi where Africans are not allowed to use cell phones, some countries also insist on reviewing only original documents — not printouts — and lengthy financial statements that some banks provide at a cost of Sh1000 per page.

INDIGNITIES OF TRAVEL

The move by Kenya got various reactions. Some South African columnists complained about the retaliatory move by Kenya. Some Kenyans and South Africans lamented that the “anti-business” move by Kenya would see fewer visitors from South Africa and less intra-Africa tourism, trade and investment for Kenya from South Africa, at a time when better regional relations are a core part of the Africa Rising narrative .

Yet some Kenyans cheered it as a tit-for-tat response to South Africans who also make transit passengers flying through Johannesburg and on to other parts of southern Africa go through similarly burdensome processes.

Kenya does allow nationals of about 20 other African countries to travel to Nairobi and obtain visas on arrival, so it does seem retaliatory; but I’m one of the Kenyans who are happy with the move. I’m happy that our diplomats have shown some brass marbles in reaction to some outright unbalanced and unnecessary hostility.

It’s been a tough few years for Kenyans, from having to face up to stiffer travel challenges to India’s recent requirement that visitors from Kenya obtain polio vaccines and travel with proof of being polio-free. Yet yellow fever and polio are things that most adult Kenyans have rarely had to think about until they perused an embassy website.

For the most part, we’ve accepted the increased indignities of travel and borne them, but it’s also important to become like Nigerians and show some brass.

Nigeria has had a peculiar diplomatic tiff with South Africa. While the genesis of this may have to do with the race to be Africa’ largest economy, it continues to simmer. When South Africa deports Nigerians, Nigeria refuses entry to South Africans who have visas.

MEASURE OF PRIDE

Also, it’s been said that South African passports are processed rather slowly before their holders are granted passage to Nigeria, and at a much slower rate than the passports of other African.
Reported by: Bankelele
Nigeria is like that, not just with South Africa, but also with other countries. When Britain sounds a travel alert against Nigeria, Nigerians talk back about doing the same to Britons.

When Kenya deported some Nigerians last year, the Kenyan plane and crew were held for a lengthy period of time before top diplomats intervened to get them back.

While Nigerians are perceived to suffer for carrying their green passports through airports that may flag them as potential drug traffickers or con artists, there’s also a measure of pride that comes with knowing that your country has your back.

On a trip to Europe a few years ago, I happened to be next to a young Nigerian man in the queue at the Amsterdam airport passport control.

We both got called up at about the same time to different passport booths, and as I nervously shuffled through my papers in anticipation of being asked for my conference invite, hotel reservation, proof of insurance, visa, and return ticket, my Nigerian brother slapped his passport down on the desk and loudly said, “I’m going to Greece for business.” He got in.

That’s Nigerian Brass for you, and Kenya needs more of that.

192 Mandera enforcement officers graduate at NYS

Lucas baraza

dismo4

The Mandera County government had the first-ever passing-out parade for its 192 enforcement and county inspectorate officers.

The ceremony was held at the National Youth Service training college in Gilgil.

The officers, who graduated after a 42-day training, included 169 men and 23 women.

The enforcement officers’ paramilitary training included command and control, code of regulations, public officers’ acts and ethics, human resource management, communication skills, public relations, the first stage in firefighting and government law.

“Participants maintained (a) high level of discipline and order, no indiscipline cases,” a statement from the county government said.

It said the NYS was pleased that Mandera County Governor Ali Roba had enough confidence in the agency to allow it to train the enforcement officers.

POSSIBLE FUTURE PARTNERSHIPS

Mr Roba appreciated the NYS “for recommendable vigorous training they have offered enforcement officers.”

He said the Mandera County government would continue to partner with the NYS in other programmes, including vocational training for youth to make gradual transformation from unemployment to self-employment.

“Consultations are underway with management to explore ways of sending 300-400 youths to get proper vocational training in a bid to cub the acute shortage of skilled man power from the region,” the statement said.

NYS Director General Nelson Githinji said: “This achievement gives us the opportunity to reflect on the challenges of the growing demand resulting (in) more of our youths to benefit from the diversity of mandates of the government vision that will enhance a vibrant youth empowerment program for Kenya.”

County banks on livestock, fruit processing for growth

Lucas Baraza

dismo4

Mandera Governor Ali Roba is optimistic his government is on the right path to self-reliance and regional competitiveness.

He said the county government hopes to achieve this in its five-year strategic plan that ends in 2017.

“Our vision is clear. We are setting up an abattoir and the design for a fruit processing factory is complete. Plans for the construction of an international airport and regional livestock market are in the pipeline,” Mr Doba said.
Construction of the airport starts in September.

The governor, who was a pilot before joining elective politics, says his government has identified projects that will generate employment, reduce food and water insecurity.

He also aims to professionalise the county public service and kick-start the ailing health sector.

Mr Roba describes Mandera as a “county with unlimited opportunities and endless possibilities.”

The county boss said key personnel and administrators have been recruited.
“Delivery of services is our top priority,” Mr Roba said.

Achievements
Among the governor’s achievements so far include, an increase in revenue collection by 300 per cent from Sh35 million to the current Sh120 million.
The county government has also operationalised 57 hospitals, it has constructed 677 kilometres of all weather murram road and dug 20 boreholes and five water pans. Twelve water pans have also been rehabilitated.

Mr Roba’s administration is constructing the county headquarters, the county assembly and a guest house for investors.

A one-stop business centre has also been established.

In an interview with the Nation yesterday, Mr Roba said a county radio station has been set up. It will be operational in the one and half months.

Sub-county administrative offices have been built in the northern Kenya while the Mandera County referral hospital has been refurbished. The county government has recruited 360 more medical personnel.

The ground breaking for the 24 kilometre tarmac road is set for August 7.

“This will be the first tarmac tarmac road in Mandera,” Mr Roba said

A devisive Election mandera county maendeleo ya wanawake Primaries

Contributed by Abdul Qani Hassan and Bilqays Ibrahim

Ubah Abdi Gedi who lost Nomination to fathiya Mahbub last Year have won Maendeleo ya Wanawake primary early on Wednesday, capturing a huge margin of votes after a bitter nominating contest. she defeated the incumbent Fatuma Haji Ibrahim Daughter of the famous (Sajin Ibrahim or Dura Gora as popularly known in Mandera town )

Ubah received majority of nominations from Mandera North, Mandera west and Banisa while Fatuma Haji Ibrahim won mandera East and Elwak south. to make our follower understand the politics of Maendeleo ya wanawake primaries, for County MYWO Chairlady to win the seat, she must garner atleast 50% plus of delegate votes from the 27 County wards.

In the heated race Ubah Gedi emerged victorious over her rival, Fatuma Ibrahim (Nunaay), there is a report that Business men establishment heavily funded Ubah’s election win but Mandera County Forum cannot confirm or independently verify it. Zam Zam Abdullahi Yusuf chief campaigner of Fatuma Ibrahim Confirmed after election announcement that they have strategies in place to launch court injunction.

Ubah’s supporters celebrated at a victory party in Mandera Town earlier today, roaring with applause and cheers as results were announced.

AbdulQani is MCF Contributor.

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