Only in Kenya

Thursday, March 08, 2007

A False Start to the Safari Rally

My fellow Kenyans, I almost used the ‘F’ word today.

And that is a big thing for a self-respecting, God-fearing guy like me.

Reason? Discrimination, right here in my beloved country.

As a big hearted photographer, rally fan and freelance journalist, I went to the KICC to collect my media accreditation badge for the Safari Rally. My chronograph told me I got there at 3.45pm. Picking my badge should have taken 5 minutes tops, since I’d handed in my documents Wednesday afternoon. But 85 minutes somehow grew into the 5 and I ended up waiting for 90 minutes.

45 minutes after I walked into the rally's media centre headed by Bijal Dhodia, my patience level had dropped to ‘get-up-out-of-your-seat and-find-out-what-is-happening’ levels. Bijal explained they were doing badges for the rally drivers first.

I calmly returned to my seat.

Then some foreign journalists of European descent (pictured) walked into the room and… you guessed it right - they were served before me!

Mkenya mwenzangu, why do we discriminate ourselves against ourselves? Why do we give foreigners the royal treatment and relegate our brothers and sisters to 'foreigner' status? Do you think they’d give you preferential treatment in their country? Go swing on a tree!

Have you ever been to any US entry point? They have a special line for their citizens with first-class service while the rest of us will panga a long line that will back up all the way into the plane. I’m glad Kenya Airports Authority have picked a cue from the US and made a special entry desk labelled ‘Kenyans returning home’ at JKIA.

Another guy with a potbelly walked into the room, talked to Bijal and before I could say ‘I was here first’, he was out of the room, several badges in hand. All because the badges he was collecting belonged to some VIPs.

And what am I? Just pee?

Bijal, sorry but you’ve made a rally we’ve all been waiting for start in reverse gear. Well, at least for me and the five or so other journalists who waited patiently only to be discriminated against by our fellow brother. I wanted to share with you what I felt but I’ve decided to share it with the world. I hope you treat other Kenyans as you’d expect to be treated. If we can't get fair treatment nyumbani, where else do we expect to get it?


Blogger Acolyte said...

That is so disgusting because it is the combination of the bias that journalists face in kenya combined with the racist element. Have you written a letter to the organisers telling them how you feel?

3:42 am  

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