Kenya once again in British cross hairs with latest anti travel advisory

DOES BRITAIN USE ANTI TRAVEL ADVISORIES TO PUNISH KENYA OVER TIES WITH CHINA?

(Posted 15th May 2015)

The latest anti travel advisories Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office has issued against travel to and within Kenya were received with a mix of anger, outrage, disappointment and outright dismissal as ‘increasingly inconsequential’ after the Brits had issued recommendations to avoid all non-essential travel to Mombasa island and some extensive sections along Kenya’s coast, inexplicably including the stretch of beaches from Mtwapa over Kilifi to Watamu and Malindi, if one can go by the written version of the latest anti travel warning.

Considering that all arriving passengers at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa have to travel through the island to either reach the ferry to Likoni and the South Coast or else cross the Nyali Bridge to reach the North Coast, it effectively tells British nationals not to go to the Kenyan coast, an act widely condemned by Kenya’s tourism sector.

The Travel Advice now reads:

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to Mombasa island and within 5km of the coast from Mtwapa creek in the north to Tiwi in the south. This area does not include Diani or Moi International Airport.

If you are currently in an area to which we now advise against all but essential travel you should consider whether you have an essential reason to remain. If not, you should leave the area. You can still access the Moi International Airport but we advise against travelling through Mombasa Island.

Full travel advice to Kenya can be found on the FCO website.

Said a regular commentator in a voice dripping with acid and I am trying to give as accurate a recollection as I can: ‘I wonder what i****s the FCO employs or on whom they rely for such blunders. The fact is that when they say Brits can still access the airport in Mombasa but advise against travelling through Mombasa island, they expose their geographical illiteracy. The only way to reach the airport from Diani or the north coast hotels is THROUGH the island. You MUST enter the island, either with the ferry from Likoni or over the Nyali bridge. Has any of these i****s at the High Commission and the FCO even the slightest clue what they are talking about. I for one, and many of my friends share this view, think that the change, hot on the heels of the visit by the Chinese delegation, is a shot across Kenya’s bow to slow down in our move for closer ties with China. The Brits don’t like that one bit and I might be paranoid, but past experience tells me they are not very subtle when it comes to their power games. Remember the interference in our internal affairs ahead of the elections when they made it plain which candidate they preferred and threatening to cut or reduce ties should Kenya elect the other on. Well Kenya did elect the other one and they came crawling back reluctantly. The timing of this advisory is no coincidence. The last incidents took place two weeks ago and they adopted a wait and see policy and now they pounce on us after we announce record trade deals with China. Do they think we are stupid too? They are giving away their game when they on one side pledge cooperation in security and then add that sneaky ‘in line with international human rights standards’. Who do they think they are really, wannabe colonial masters again?

Fears that charter departures from the UK to Mombasa would be cancelled as a result proved to be a false alarm as yesterday morning a flight from the UK with over 200 passengers arrived at MIAM and both arriving and departing passengers experienced not one single problem on the way from or to the airport, belying the fear mongering of the latest FCO advice.

Kenyan government sources also dismissed the latest upping of the ante by the FCO, pointing out that terrorism is a global challenge and that Britain too has been affected by it. Other Commonwealth countries are like Australia are reportedly also considering to up the ante again though on the upside there seems to be an ever growing number of travelers who do no longer follow the guidelines as too many false alarms in the past have hollowed out the effectiveness and credibility of such advisories, regularly perceived as biased and used as a political tool in foreign relations. Said another source based in Nairobi: ‘British tourists like tourists from anywhere in the world are welcome to Kenya. None have come to harm in the past and we do what we can to keep it so. Our game parks are safe, our beach resorts are safe. Kenya is open for business without any restrictions from our side. Let our tourists go and visit ancient Lamu, visit Malindi and Watamu or go to Msambweni and to Wasini. We trust that potential travelers will see the difference between the reality on the ground and the propaganda we are subjected to’.

Sad fact though is that this latest FCO advisory only adds to the negative perception sections of the international media have created about Kenya, with reports often blatantly false and regularly written with clear bias by individuals with their own agenda. And in closing, if I can visit Kenya on a regular basis, so can you. Karibuni Kenya – where it is still Hakuna Matata for visitors from abroad.

2 Responses

  1. Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone. From: Wolfgang H. Thome’s BlogSent: Thursday, 15 May 2014 03:34To: lydia@lchconsultancy.comReply To: Wolfgang H. Thome’s BlogSubject: [New post] 15 May, 2014 03:33

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    Aviation, Tourism and Conservation news – DAILY from Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean islands posted: “DOES BRITAIN USE ANTI TRAVEL ADVISORIES TO PUNISH KENYA OVER TIES WITH CHINA?

    (Posted 15th May 2015)

    The latest anti travel advisories Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office has issued against travel to and within Kenya were received with a mix of “

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