ANTI TRAVEL ADVISORIES SETTLING OLD SCORES OR NEW SCORES OR WHAT
Reactions from Nairobi were swift and mostly acid over the warning issued by the US Embassy to their nationals living in Kenya over the increased if not imminent risk of a terror attack, and none was complimentary as could be expected: A case for increased vigilance, absolutely yes, a case for this type of paranoia knee jerk reaction, absolutely no. We take exception that a self professed friendly nation could sensationalize a warning like they did, it is disrespectful for our country and what does it achieve, as if we would live in a vacuum and not know. We are at war with Somalias militants, where the US is also directly involved with drones and by other means. They wanted us to do that for a long time and now that we are engaging the militants it is almost as if the US Embassy has stabbed us in the back. Why this format when they know it leaks, maybe it was meant to leak? We are all aware of the need for extra security now and government and private sector have really stepped this up so what is it the US Embassy tries to accomplish other than hurting us economically when we need every shilling we can earn, every job we can create or maintain? For me I can only say who needs friends like those? was the sentiment of a regular contributor of information and background from Nairobi echoed across the entire spectrum of contacts in Kenya. It is becoming like a fortress now wherever one goes to prevent Al Shabab doing in Kenya what they did to you in Uganda last year. They are facing a military defeat on the ground where they are now fighting on several fronts. When Kismayu falls they will have lost their biggest stronghold and because they are animals with no respect for the Geneva Convention they will try to commit terror acts. It is important to capture or destroy their leadership and cut off the head of that snake because when Somalia is at peace all the risks for neighbouring countries will reduce. The militants will run back to other hideouts and have to be pursued to the end said another.
Official sources from the tourism sector declined to comment on record but did express in private their disappointment with this latest US advisorys format and timing. Sources from the Kenyan coast also impressed upon this correspondent that beach resorts from Malindi to the border with Tanzania at Shimoni have all stepped up entrance and perimeter controls and surveillance and the beaches were now being patrolled by both uniformed and plain cloth security operatives day and night. Said a former senior stakeholder representative on condition of anonymity: All possible is being done to ensure the safety and security of our visitors and of our fellow Kenyans. Advisories like this one, which made its way like wildfire around the globe, are not really very helpful and we would expect them to emphasize on the practical assistance and security cooperation we have with the US rather than the negative side all the time.
This correspondent also feels that ally bashing is not the best way forward and only opens the door for suspicions and allegations about ulterior motives, as was the case when the US government only hours before the Delta inaugural flight to Nairobi withdrew permission for the service, citing security concerns, which notably did not affect any other of the global airlines flying to Nairobi. Watch this space.