Lake Nakuru is mysteriously silent. Photograph: Lennox Yieke

Kenya Wishes for Stronger Security in 2015

On the eve of Christmas, I spent my day in Nakuru, Kenya. Nakuru, which is located in East Africa’s Great Rift Valley, is a place of contrasting tales. On one hand, there is a bustling urban center that attracts folks from all over the country in droves. On the other, there is an incredibly attractive natural environment whose key highlights include the lush vegetation that dots the surrounding hills, and the expansive Lake Nakuru, which is undoubtedly the agricultural town’s centerpiece.

Of the two sides of Nakuru, I like the natural side more, especially the lake. Accordingly, I religiously visit Lake Nakuru each December.

But this holiday season was different. The lake, which typically teems with wildlife, including thousands upon thousands of pink flamingos, was mysteriously calm. Not only were the iconic flamingos missing, but there was a ‘loud’ silence.

This picture, which I took, captures the mood at Lake Nakuru more than I could through words.

Lake Nakuru is mysteriously silent. Photograph: Lennox Yieke

Lake Nakuru is mysteriously silent. Photograph: Lennox Yieke

Upon deeper reflection, I realized that the unusually silent mood in Lake Nakuru was a symbolic representation of how tourism, a sector that typically drives the Kenyan economy, has taken a hit because of insecurity.

By May 2014, at least 20 hotels had shut down in Kenya’s coastal region, the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) disclosed in an August 2014 press briefing. While data for the end of the year had not come out by the time of writing this article, it is conceivable that the situation has deteriorated, given the series of security lapses and terror attacks in November and early December.

Being the second biggest earner of revenue for Kenya after agriculture, tourism is critically important to employment of Kenyans, especially those in rural areas, where other industries have not developed sufficiently to fully absorb the population. In this regard, my wish is that the security crisis in our country is solved in 2015. I am, however, confident that the current administration’s efforts to strengthen security will prevail.

Lennox Yieke is a business journalist, marketing consultant and loyal Pan-Africanist. He has contributed content to top financial media outlets, including The Motley Fool, winner of Glassdoor’s prestigious No.1 place to work for in America in 2014. Currently he is the editor of Business Monthly, East Africa’s leading business magazine with over 220,000 loyal monthly readers. Yieke admits that the hardest part of his work is not reporting about mega business deals or pitching complex marketing ideas to clients, but confronting his African identity. He painfully agrees that while the world moves ahead, Africans at the grassroots remain ignored. But instead of complaining, Yieke is using the opportunity that Rural Reporters has presented to highlight the plight and success stories of Africans at the grass roots. “Real transformative change in Africa will only come when we empower the folks at the bottom of the pyramid and tell their stories,” he declares. Yieke can be reached at Yieke@media7groupkenya.com. Follow him on Twitter @lyieke

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