Security or Football: Officers Watching Football while Scanning at JKIA

While travelling with British Airways in Kenya, their security process is so vigorous it is annoying. They do their own checks because they do not trust Kenyan officers. It seems to me that even after we got independence, we still have to deal with the wider global philosophy that categorized black Africans as inferior and not up to “civilized” category. The argument being voiced by black African leaders against the ICC is founded on the suspicion that western governments don’t believe Africans can run their own affairs. (Google: Who will prevail? ICC vs. The republic of Kenya) But are we justified? Is this racism? 

I have lived in the United States for many years and although many of my black immigrants join the civil rights agenda and empathize with the black struggle, I can attest to the fact that during my stay, white people have never treated me unfairly. My experience is that Americans are the most generous of humanity! The people that is. This does not eliminate the claim by many that they have suffered racism. I personally have not experienced racism in my over 20 years stay in America.


A friend of mine claimed that Egyptian authorities while entering into Cairo airport for vacation racially mistreated his group. I do not doubt his claims, though I would like to hear his definition of racial discrimination.


Racism aside, I travel through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport many times. In the most recent trip, I noticed something you would not see in any western country, especially European and American airports. Placed at the view of the young people responsible for screening travelers are flat screen TVs. While getting ready to board Swiss Air (Great Airline. Switched from BA after experiencing discrimination based upon my country of origin), I noticed something disturbing. The character responsible for checking whether bags have illegal “things”, say, a machete, was pretending to be viewing the ex-ray screen when actually he was watching Manchester United vs. Arsenal or some English league. I protest against the idea that only European football is worth broadcasting in Kenya. I would rather have the Spanish Channels football (I believe it is Neo-Colonialism).


Any way, how any person can be allowed to watch football while performing such an important duty is beyond me. Yet again, we Kenyans are deficit in particulars. My Kenyan mechanic told me that most of the wires in my car were unnecessary. We could re-route the system! What? No wonder Americans have refused their airlines to fly or have flights originate directly from Kenya. They sight security. I do not blame them. Security officials do not need to watch TV when screening passengers! Full stop! Leave the TVs for the coffee drinkers at the airport Java Joint.


By this I am not arguing against those who believe that international standards discriminate against Africans. I am arguing for us Africans, and especially Kenyans to respect international standards on security. This village security process is disturbing. And yes, we need to behave like modern people and stop tribal animosity every election. This, not to prove anything to the Westerners, we have nothing to prove! This to be human and not chop each other up because of a vote! Why do you think Nigerians have a bad reputation worldwide? They live in New York as if they are in an African forest in 1825AD. We Africans need to grow up!


Teddy Njoroge Kamau (PhD), SYR Radio/TV, Director, International Desk. Imanisha

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