Children fleeing as the police cracked down on a protest in Nairobi in January after private developers tried to take over their playgrounds.Credit:Tony Karumba/Agence France-Presse
Kenya Takes on Its Own Worst Enemy
NAIROBI, Kenya — Is Kenya losing its luster as the star of a rising Africa? The short answer is, no. But from afar it certainly looks that way.
Consider a modest sampling of recent events:
•A member of Parliament is assassinated in the heart of downtown Nairobi. A few weeks later, a prominent businessman is shot 15 times in a gangland execution.
•Students at an aviation school here stage a raucous rally after media reports reveal that many won their certificates by allegedly bribing administrators. Think about that: Aspiring aviation technicians who will one day be working on complicated machines that fly through the air carrying large numbers of people are graduating in some cases without attending classes.
Enter the spin-meisters. Mindful of the importance of global perceptions, Kenya’s government is undertaking a public relations blitz to refurbish its image. In February, it hired the Podesta Group, headed by John Podesta, a senior adviser to Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and recently appointed to run Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain has been brought in to attract foreign backing for a series of high-profile infrastructure and technology projects. A prominent global public relations firm most recently joined the effort to resuscitate Kenya’s tourist industry. READ MORE