Tag Archives: Nairobi

Mogherini inaugurates EU mission in Nairobi

Today the European Union top diplomat – Federica Mogherini – inaugurates new premises of the EU Mission in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Delegation has the status of a diplomatic mission (Embassy or High Commission) and officially represents the European Union in Kenya. We promote the European Union’s (EU’s) values and interests, monitor the political, economic and commercial situation in the country and the region, oversee the various forms of cooperation between the EU and Kenya, and provide information about the EU’s relations with Kenya” the European External Action Service explains its mission. (Image above: Nairobi skyline).

The EU’s key values and interests can be summed up as: peace, people, prosperity, the planet, and partnership. Here in Kenya, the EU:

  • works together with Kenya, including through AMISOM, to promote peace in neighbouring Somalia;
  • supports democracy and devolution, helping to bring political power closer to ordinary people;
  • is Kenya’s biggest export market and a major source of private investment, as well as providing financing for Kenya’s infrastructure and rural development to spread greater prosperity in the country;
  • supports environmental conservation, which also has wider benefits for the planet;
  • works in partnership with Kenya both as a political partner (through regular political dialogue) and as a development partner (in coordination with other donors of assistance and the relevant Kenyan authorities).

Al-Shabaab expands into Kenya

Somali radical Islam insurgents are making their own explosives, according to a confidential U.N. report explaining their frequent and deadly attacks.

The Somali al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group al-Shabab extends attacks beyond borders, by recruiting new members outside Somali clans, luring them with promises of money and gifts.

In the beginning of this year an assault on an office and hotel complex in Nairobi (Kenya), was the first to be led by non-ethnic Somalis since al-Shabab began major cross-border operations in 2010.

Ali Salim Gichunge, nicknamed Farouk (26) leading Nairobi attacks was a Kenyan who attended a Catholic school and whose mainly Christian ethnic group Meru has no ties to Somalia.

Farouk is by no means exception among a growing number of Kenyans with no ethnic links to Somalia recruited by the militants in recent years, according to relatives, security officials and analysts.

Widespread poverty and unemployment create a nourishing ground for al-Shabaab recruiters offering cash or even just promises of work, researchers who interviewed defectors from the group report. The relatives of the young men said, even small gifts would work for engaging them.

“In the past, the security forces concentrated their efforts in parts of the country that are Muslim majority, Muslim-dominated,” said Murithi Mutiga, a project director for the International Crisis Group think-tank, he added that, “now it’s much harder because al-Shabab has shown its adaptability by recruiting from outside the traditional areas.”

As well al-Shabab has expanded its operations from Somalia into East Africa, where it has hit high-profile targets, such as the offices of Western multinational companies.

EU top diplomat to visit Horn of Africa

Federica Mogherini will begin her visit to the Horn of Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where the African Union Summit is taking place and she will meet several heads of state or government in the margins.

In Ethiopia Mogherini is due to meet President Shale Work Zwede and Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed, among other members of the government, to discuss further strengthening the EU-Ethiopia partnership.

The the EU top diplomat will also visit  funded by the bloc projects supporting the International Organisation for Migration together with Director General Antonio Vitorino.

Continuing her visit in the Horn of Africa,  Mogherini will visit Kenya, where she is due to meet President Kenyatta and members of the government. In Kenya, she will also launch a cross border programme, meet with representatives from the UN Habitat and UNEP, youth and civil society groups as well as inaugurating the new EU Delegation offices in Nairobi.

She will conclude her visit by travelling to Djibouti to meet President Ismail Omar Guelleh and other members of government, as well as visiting Member States’ military bases operating the EU ATALANTA maritime security mission.

The EU in the Horn of Africathe EU is working actively to strengthen its partnership with the region which shares many common interests with the European Union, from tackling climate change to boosting investment, to better managing migration and creating opportunities for youth.

The EU is a key partner for the region in many areas, in particular security with the three Common Security and Defence Policy missions: EUNAVFOR Atalanta maritime mission which fights piracy off the Somali coast, EUTM Somalia and EUCAP Somalia. The EU is also a key supporter of Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the regional body in the Horn of Africa.

Image: Benna people, Ethiopia

Kenya enjoys tourism sector growth

Kenya’s profit from tourism raised by almost a third in 2018 from the previous year to 157.4 billion shillings ($1.55 billion), after the number of visitors increased by 37%, the tourism ministry said.

The World Bank report 2018 on Ease of Doing Business ranks Kenya No. 80 up from No. 92 in 2017, and is expected to rise in 2019, contributing mainly to tourism sector.

However the UK government Foreign travel advice warns, that “bag snatching is common in transport hubs like bus stations, railway stations and airports. Mugging, kidnapping, car-jacking and armed robbery occur regularly, particularly in Nairobi, Mombasa and other large cities. Foreigners are not generally targeted, but incidents of violent crime have resulted in the death of several British nationals in recent years. Crime rates are higher in slum areas of Nairobi, the Old Town of Mombasa and on and around the Likoni Ferry (which links Mombasa and the southern resorts). Gun attacks in Kwale County on the south coast resulted in fatalities in September and October 2017. You should be vigilant at all times and follow any security advice given by your employer or your hosts.”

Ten rhinos in Kenya died after transfer

Kenya’s wildlife minister apologized for being rude with  his critics, and  sending them to “hell” while he  comes under mounting pressure over the death of 10 rhinos during a botched transfer.

Tourism and Wildlife Minister Najib Balala had directed the comments to those calling for his resignation over the fiasco during a press conference:

“People need explanations about the rhinos… people are angry. I am also angry,” Balala told. “I have emotions and I reacted. I feel let down by my system that did not act quickly to stop the death of the rhinos.”

Kenyans have been outraged after 10 of 11 rhinos being transferred from Nairobi and Lake Nakuru national parks to Tsavo East died after the operation.

The 11th was attacked by lions, and is recovering.

Balala has blamed Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS) officials involved in the transfer for “negligence”, suspending six senior officials.

An initial enquiry indicated that the rhinos may have become dehydrated and died after drinking saline water in their new habitat.

The scandal intensified when the former chairman of the KWS board, the world-renowned anthropologist Richard Leakey, released a statement revealing that the board had on three prior occasions blocked the transfer.

He said this was due to “a deep concern about the lack of vegetation in the sanctuary that could sustain rhino, and also, the real issue of available and safe water.”

He also indicated that no new KWS board had been set up in the three months since the one he chaired expired, leaving the decision to carry out the translocation entirely up to Balala’s ministry.

The indignant Kenyans demanded via social media to see the horns of the dead rhinos, KWS displayed the 20 horns to the media last week to allay suspicions.

In yet another blow to the country’s rhino population, the KWS said that a 12-year-old male had been killed by poachers for its horn in Nakuru National Park this week.

Elephant language of survival

Nowadays Researchers believe that migration is just one survival mechanism elephants have developed in response to poaching, conflict, urbanization, agriculture, and other pressures in Africa.

In 2016, one elephant made a treacherous 209 km journey over three weeks from the relative safety of Kenya to conflict-ridden Somalia, all under the cloak of darkness. Morgan, as the researchers called him, remained in Somalia for just a day and a half before turning back.

“We don’t know the precise reason for his migration into Somalia,” says Iain Douglas-Hamilton, founder of Save the Elephants (STE), a UK charity headquartered in Nairobi that conducts research on elephant behavior and ecology, “but we suspect it was to mate.”

“Moving by night was an extreme form of survival in a region where elephants are under threat from poaching,” adds Douglas-Hamilton. “He was the first elephant on record to visit in Somalia in 20 years.”

Inspired by the elephant’s journey, researchers at the University of Twente in the Netherlands worked with Save the Elephants to conduct a study last September on African elephant migratory patterns. They found that some elephants in sub-Saharan Africa have started travelling at night to avoid the threat of poaching that usually occurs during the day.

Elephants also have developed sophisticated gestures, sounds, infrasound, and chemical secretions  to relay messages to one another for survival purposes. “Through various means, elephants can suggest that the group moves on, that they sense danger, or that they are in distress,” says Douglas-Hamilton.

Kenya opens Mombasa-Nairobi railway

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has inaugurated a major new railway between the port city of Mombasa and the capital, Nairobi.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said during the launch that the $3.2bn (£2.5bn) Chinese-funded line signalled a new chapter in the country.

He warned that he would authorise the execution of vandals after four people were arrested damaging sections of a guardrail.

It is Kenya’s biggest infrastructure project since independence.