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Kenya, May 23, 2007

A Whole New Nairobi

Watch Out! Kenya is back like a heart-attack

new nairobi
Building a new Nairobi
no bribes here
A whole new mind-set
In the 1990's, Kenya's capitol developed a reputation as a center of thievery and lawlessness. People would be harassed by glue-sniffing street kids, their cars robbed of anything valuable, and any respectable citizen fled the city at sunset. That's why they called it "Nai-robbery."

When I was here in January 2003, President Mwai Kibaki had just been elected, ending twenty-seven years of rule by Daniel arap Moi, rule that became exponentially more corrupt over time. Kibaki's arrival was greeted by two weeks of parties, the country rejoicing over the change, with optimism so high it frothed over in the streets of Nairobi.

For the first time in decades the zebra crossings were re-painted and cars stopped for pedestrians. Traffic police were refused bribes with drivers requesting a real ticket instead. The whole country seemed to cleanse itself overnight. At the time, I was impressed, but I didn't think it would last.

Arriving in Kenya last night, I realized I was wrong. First off, my taxi from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport was relatively new and clean, not the wire and bubble gum jalopies of past. Then, when downtown, I was first struck by the streetlights. They were on. And their glow illuminated a city alive at night. Nairobians were up, out, and about, dressed fine and crime not on their mind.

Asking the driver, and then dozens of Kenyans over the next week, I came to understand that Kibaki's election was a real watershed for the whole city. Gone was Nairobi's outward criminal element (corruption is still endemic) and down was the random street crime. While Nairobi is still Nai-robbery - a friend's side view mirror was stolen from his car while he sat in traffic - it's not the same city as before.

Now it is similar to any other large African city. Keep your wits and your jewels about you. Don't be stumbling down a street drunk at night, and always fear the Mad House. Yet, enjoy its energy, its beauty, and above all, enjoy its people.

Nairobi is back!

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So, I really am planning to somehow make it to Kenya this year. Wed. was my last day at my job, and well I am open to doing labor for other people now, hopefully something that doesn't require running in heels (running in flip flops is fine).

Have anyone you know that would want to meet me in Kenya??

Hi. Am really concerned with the level of security deteroriation in the country. This more especially in most of our urbarn centres like Nairobi. Surely speaking you cannot walk freelly in our towns today because of rampant both robbery with violence and with courtersy. If at all you will go unrobbed then you will be the luckiest in town. As uch as I love Kenya, I do not like how security issues are being carried on. One of the factors that is still making kenya as Nation is insecurity live alone corruption which has deeply sunk into big people's blood. Actually it has become hard for them to be seperated with it because those who fight most likely always join them and finally sail in the same bout of corruptio.
Back to the point, concerning insecurity in the country this scares away potential both forein and local investors from investing their capital in the nation. This investment would employe many local population and would have helped in solving some of the unemployment problem in the counrty. Job opportunities created would increase government revenue and from this increment in revenue, the government would improve on provision of economic and social infrastructures.
To add on this, high level of insecurity scare away tourist. This means, the government is loosing much foreign income. From this coupled with other factors it lowers the government budget into a deficit budget.

Jimmy Omuse
Business Student- Makerere University Kampala.

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