Everyone's Scared & Running Away.

Tourism has long been akin to fuel essential to the function of a car. Essential to this country as food is to the human body. And the tourists- mostly international who have repeatedly chosen Kenya- its coast, wild life sanctuaries, hotels and beach front resorts as the place to while away their summer or escape the frigid cold of their Christmas holidays. The revenue they bring has been the life blood and lively hood of more than 7500 people have lost their jobs in the tourism industry in the last few months alone.

Tourism is under any normal circumstances a thriving and lucrative cash cow that never fails- well almost never..  Due to the recent spate of attacks on the country be Al Shabab terrorists who have actively shot at, massacred, bombed and lobbed grenades at office buildings, apartment blocks, and even some churches, throwing in the WestGate mall last September just to create a heightened sense of fear and terror.

With all this insecurity it is no wonder why the tourism industry has hit a slump, that hotels are shutting down due to lack of guests and the UK, US, France and Australia have issued travel advisories to their nationals holidaying or working in the country- and I don’t blame them.

Any leader- any good leader first priority is to protect the lives of their citizens against any threat that means even the vaguest hint of a threat. The leaders from the above countries have legitimate cause for great concern after all no leader worth his/her salt should knowingly put the lives of their citizens in clear and present danger. No money or vacation is worth a life.

What’s more, we-the locals are scared, to tell the truth, every time the average Kenyan leaves their home we do so in fear of what will happen outside our doors. We are now afraid to congregate at church or even in schools; most of us dare not linger at the local mall more than we need to. We go out because we have to, to work and build the nation. Kenyans are now hyper vigilant, on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary. On top of the looming terrorist threat there are millions of out of work or jobless youth, a large number of who resort to petty or serious crime due to their desperation.

In a number of recent speeches both the president and governors have made light of the lack of international revenue and the seeming mass exodus of tourists. Stating to anyone who will hear that local tourism is quite enough to sustain the country.  It would be wondrous if that were so, but it is not, that is just a reverie, wishful thinking at its best. Mainly because the locals are way too frightened to tour the country with their most prized commodities in toe- their lives, and the lives of their families, if it is not fear that keeps Kenyans away from touring their land it is that life has become too expensive and they have to tighten their belts, turning their attention instead to putting food on the table, paying rent on their houses and educating their children. Leaving little or no money to tour and take in the sights.

In his June 1st Madaraka Day speech the president did what all his predecessors did so well; made promises then delivered very little, and in this respect President Kenyatta did not disappoint, he talked tough on security promising CCTV cameras wherever thieves can be found. For that one as for the free women’s health care, we have to wait and see. But on both counts this blogger maintains the highest level of scepticism.


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