NAIROBI PLANE CRASH LEAVES TWO DEAD AND ONE SERIOUSLY INJURED
A mid afternoon plane crash outside the city of Nairobi, reportedly in the distant suburb of Karen at the foot of the Ngong Hills, has taken the lives of two of three occupants of the stricken craft. The plane of still unspecified make had reportedly left Wilson Airport earlier in the day to deliver school examination papers to Marsabit and Lodwar in the North of the country and was approaching Nairobi again when something went wrong. Eyewitnesses are quoted that the plane spun out of control while still in the air and crashed nose down to the ground. Three occupants were pulled from the wreckage and taken to a nearby hospital from where soon after the sad news emerged that at least two had succumbed to their serious injuries while a third occupant was still in very critical condition, fighting for his life.
A school near the crash site was miraculously spared destruction as the plan went down a short distance away from the buildings in an open ground area. Investigations are now underway led by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority to establish the cause of the accident. Condolences are expressed by the eTN East Africa team to the families and friends of the victims while best wishes are extended to the now sole survivor of the crash.
Archive for October 21st, 2011
NAIROBI PLANE CRASH LEAVES TWO DEAD AND ONE SERIOUSLY INJURED
ANNUAL LAMU CULTURAL FESTIVAL VERY MUCH ON
Tourism minister Najib Balala has rushed to reaffirm in public that the annual and much acclaimed Lamu Cultural Festival will be held as scheduled in November this year, casting aside doubts that recent events and the countrys cross border pursuit of Al Shabab militants would have stopped this showpiece of Swahili culture. The annual Lamu festival has made an impact on the culture scene as it offers a platform for the unique Swahili music, poetry and performances and is thought only second in importance after Zanzibars Sauti Za Busara. An annual highlight for Lamu the festival this year will be subject to added security measures to ensure the safety of visitors and reaffirming the event will also hopefully break the embargo slapped on travel to Lamu by embassies and High Commissions in Nairobi following the fateful abduction of a French woman from Manda Island a few weeks at the end of September.
Naval patrols are already saturating the waters between Lamu and the border with Somalia and the open pursuit by Kenyan ground and airforce units of Al Shabab militants has created a buffer zone of relative safety into which mopping up operations have also commenced. Make a date with Lamu then for the big festival in a few weeks and expect to read updates about it right here.
RWANDA GETS TOP MARKS FOR DOING BUSINESS WITH
The World Banks report on Doing Business has confirmed what is an open secret across Eastern Africa, namely that Rwanda is the country to do business with, now ranked top across the Eastern African region and in third position in Africa, only trailing second placed South Africa and top rated Mauritius.
Rwanda has also been singled out as the fastest riser in the annual scale together with Georgia, a clear sign that Rwanda Incorporated as this correspondent fondly phrases it, is actually working and producing stunning results in the process. Rwandas success also puts to rest that Africa cannot do it and is a sharp reminder that shortcomings seen elsewhere, in the region and on the continent, are largely due to poor or failed leadership rather than being located on the continent per se.
Other top performers like South Africa, Mauritius or the Seychelles will be glad to see Rwanda join their ranks of the excellent performers as it will also signal the rest of the world that one can do business with Africa, it is just to know whom with. .
Visitors to Rwanda, when arriving at the Kanombe International Airport in Kigali, are greeted with smiles and fast processing and then see when leaving the airport big billboards indicating that they have entered a corruption free zone, another key achievement in Rwanda which deals harshly with this cancer which has befallen so many countries on the continent. Another outstanding feature is Rwandas one stop centre for investors at the Rwanda Development Board, under which incidentally also the public tourism and conservation sector falls, where applications for investments are fast tracked and genuine investors facilitated through the entire process. The Land of a Thousand Hills, risen like the proverbial Phoenix over the past 17 years, a shining example for Africa and a beacon of hope for better governance and greater transparency for our continent.
DIWALI FIREWORKS TO LIGHT UP SKIES OVER MAURITIUS
Tourists coming to Mauritius over the coming days are in for a treat as large Diwali fireworks are planned to celebrate this very important Indian holiday on the island.
Shows and performances are also on the calendar of events, many of which are local but open to tourist visitors on the island over the festival days. Hotels and resorts have laid on special shows for their guests, bringing the cultural background of Mauritius to the stages for visitors to see and learn about.
Involved in the activities are both the Ministry of Tourism and Leisure and the Ministry of Arts and Culture, using the opportunity to show the rich cultural variety and history of Mauritius.
A tip from this correspondent for those on vacationing on the island: Watch the skies over Mauritius on the evening of the 23rd to see the promised magnificent fireworks. Enjoy!
UN CHARTERED RELIEF AIRCRAFT HAS LANDING INCIDENT IN BOR
A South African registered Pacific Aerospace 750XL, owned by National Airways Corporation, and leased to the United Nations for relief and humanitarian flights within South Sudan, has yesterday suffered a landing incident in Bor, from where the flight was routed, originating in Juba.
According to reports from Juba the single engined plane suffered a tyre problem as it touched down, which caused the aircraft to uncontrollably swerve and tear off a wheel before coming to a stop on the airstrip. The passengers, reportedly six of them and the two crew members on board escaped unharmed. An investigation by the Department of Civil Aviation is now going underway to establish the cause of the accident. By the time of going to press it was not possible to establish the extent of damage to the plane and if the hull has been punctured or suffered of any structural damage. Lucky escape!
COAST TOURISM SEES NO IMPACT ON BOOKINGS AS KENYA HUNTS MILITANTS
Reports from Mombasa tell a story different from what many global media organizations would want their readers to believe as occupancies remain high and forward bookings have remained steady, while Kenya has with the consent of the Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu crossed into Somalia to hunt down Al Shabab militants. The mood amongst the polled hoteliers was cautiously optimistic, attributing the present booking situation to continued marketing and telling the truth about Kenya abroad. They also conceded that security measures in and around tourist resorts had been significantly stepped up to ensure the safety and security of visitors, while in the resort or while strolling along the beaches. Patrols, it is understood, have been stepped up by plain clothes security operatives and police, extending from the capital Nairobi to key urban centres to the beaches between Malindi and Mombasa.
The ongoing military operation is now targeting the pirate and militant stronghold of Kismayu after earlier reports that Ras Kamboni, another pirate safe haven so far, has fallen to the onslaught of Kenyan ground troops and air attacks while TFG troops are on an offensive from the other side to hunt down Al Shabab militants on the run after being driven out of the capital. Kenyas move, already sanctioned by the African Union which has expressed support and reiterated the right to self defense, is also due to be coming before the United Nations Security Council where it is hoped that additional measures are agreed upon to block sea- and airborne supplies reaching the militant strongholds.
GULF AIR STRUGGLING TO MAKE IMPACT IN UGANDAN MARKET
The imminent launch of daily flights by Qatar Airways and the flurry of media and agency focused activities have prompted lesser cousin Gulf Air to at least try and put on a brave face and finally do some drum beating themselves. Early bird news about Gulf Airs intention to fly a few times a week from Bahrain to both Entebbe and Juba were published here within hours of the formal announcement but have since been overshadowed by news of ongoing unrest in Bahrain, where the reaction to pro-democracy protests by the countrys despotic rulers have drawn global condemnation. The cancellation of the Formula 1 season opening race was just one high profile result of the brutal crackdown on protesters and recent draconian court rulings from a sycophantic judiciary not worth its name have only added to the negative publicity.
Here in Uganda has it also not gone unnoticed that Gulf Air had several years ago withdrawn from the Entebbe route in a rather unceremonious way, leaving negative feelings to fester on, and flying only 4 times a week, instead like senior rivals Emirates and Qatar which are operating daily, has also disappointed travel agents. Said one of them specialized in deals to this correspondent: Regular business travelers will find it a bit difficult to chose Gulf because they only come here 4 times a week. They normally want to fly with airlines offering daily connections to be flexible. To make it worse, Bahrain has bad press everywhere because of their internal politics and our people here have learned lessons when Egypt went into revolution and Egypt Air suddenly had to stop flying because of turmoil at their airport in Cairo. Gulf will therefore have a bit of a problem selling except if they come up with extra special low fares for people connecting to somewhere. I see few Ugandans going to Bahrain under the circumstances there but most will use Gulf to connect somewhere, maybe to Dubai or to Europe or somewhere. So if the fares are very low we can sell them on the aspect of pricing only. Such sentiments were also voiced by other agents, some of whom were also pointing out that Qatars launch in early November, as oppose to Gulfs launch in early December, would impact as the market could only absorb added capacity gradually.
Nevertheless, it was positive to see that Gulf Air in Kampala has finally woken up to the reality of having to do something or else risk going almost unnoticed before their inaugural flight on 05th December. Watch the ticket prices for that one as Christmas may indeed come early for bargain hunters.