As explained to UKENTV by Brand Kenya CEO Mary Kimonye, the house was hired as a trade centre to market Kenya to the world, leveraging on the sporting success of our athletes. There were thematic days like Export, tourism which was exceptionally delivered through Seminars with UK tour agents and wonderful entertainment from Bomas of Kenya and masai cultural arts. The Kenyan Fashion show which I am proud to have organized in association with AFAD, other beautiful exhibition of Kenyan Past, present and the future. Vision 2030, Konza city, Energy, LAMPSET and other wonderful projects were discussed here, with follow up meetings. Catering was also great with Cyromas cooking Kenyan cuisine followed by Tusker! Some of this aspects of Kenya House was magnificent!
So what went wrong?
Advertised on the website as in there will be signing of autographs by athletes, Kenyans travelled for hours, with their children, to see our athletes living the Olympic theme, inspire a generation! The generation of children hanged out for three days in Kenya house waiting, with promises, but none of the team Kenya arrived even to apologize. This was a flop! Kenyans are angry to have been ignored. When Usain Bolt won, he did go to Jamaica house and the celebrations there was awesome. We waited for our great pride Rudisha, no blame to this star as he has done the country proud, but the organizers of team Kenya has left a lot of us in the Diaspora wondering why we even bothered. This is the trend even in marathon where our athletes are not accessible! How can we use absent athletes to market Kenya?
I am not faulting Hillsbafour for the way they marketed Kenya to the targeted audience for thematic days. It was nice to see investors in sports, tourism, films, agriculture and ICT. The diversity of the seminar audience was evidence that they did their Job but for the Kenyan Diaspora, who according to the His excellency Mwai Kibaki are the ambassadors, publicity to them was non existent. The information on the website was not clear, and that is why so many were turned back at the door by the security, who were doing their job, but still if someone travelled many hours, (and can see others going in who had registered through hillsbafour) and they are refused entry to Kenya House by a non Kenyan security guard, you can expect a show there! Its not to say they are trouble makers, its to say that somebody needed to address this. I am not even going to talk about rudeness to the Diaspora by the same people launching products for the Diaspora, at least we happened to be there to damage control some language that would have made great headlines.
We could dwell on what went wrong forever, but UKENTV is positive media, and we happened to have been there to witness great moments at Kenya House. Also the venue has a capacity of 150 people for health and safety purposes, it could not be exceeded. I always say, perfection is overrated, Kenya House delivered, but there is so much room for improvement.
As for us abroad, we are in competition that collaboration has not been considered an option. We will keep loosing big businesses if all we can do is to trash each other to the people we need to hire us."Pamoja Tunaweza", We need to stop the complaining attitude and adopt the solution attitudes. Those who wrote proposals to the government to offer services during London 2012 Olympics felt betrayed, rightly so, but the competition among all us makes it impossible to have a united front. CLICK FOR PHOTOS