17-05-2017 by Freddie del Curatolo
We can now say with certainty that Malindi International Airport has become part of the exclusive "Penelope" club, which unites the great world-class works promised, promised, funded and never completed.
Flags of electoral campaigns, opium of indigestion, matches for hot spirits, fiery gatherings and burning revelations. Full of hopes as married, candid and fascinating projects as never-before-seen dreams, but cold and impalpable because they were in fact perpetual ghosts.
Like in Italy, the Bridge on the Strait, the TAV and a whole series of garbage separators, dredgers and compactors in the big cities of the South.
I arrived in Malindi almost thirty years ago and was already voicing a small but welcoming stopover on Zanzibar's example.
They were the first tour-operators who started shopping on the beach resorts, hoping for Indian and Onyx dealers who bought for a few land goats in the neighboring areas, but also Brescian and Livornese hunters who handled the wallet and parsonically extracted banknotes of one hundred thousand lire.
Over the course of three decades, projects, stratagems, regulatory plans have been alternated with relevant engineers, directors, ministers.
Over the years, politicians and constitutional changes were made by mayors, prefects, parliamentarians, governors.
From this, it is clear why Malindi airport has not yet been operating in customs: why not turn a international restaurant into a very popular local restaurant where for years they have eaten more or less all of them?
Yet for some time now, the incalable pessimists and the detractors of the aphatikik, have had to admit that significant steps have been made to equip Malindi with a "hub" in line with the times and the tourist demand that invests the resorts on the north coast Of Kenya.
Restyling, new fencing, immigration and customs office building, tape deck distribution space, additional space for boeing maneuvering, expanded parking, elimination of pineapple vendors. There is only a two-square-mile extension of the necessary lengthening of the track. Otherwise, the largest international plane landing in Malindi will continue to be only Flavio Briatore's, waiting for his son Falco to become a teenager and arrive with another for himself and his friends.
The long and thorny issue that blocks everything and divides public opinion is the acquisition (those who use the word "expropriation", but also those who pronounce the word "compensation") of the inhabited terrain of the outskirts of Kisumundogo And Kwachocha.
This is a "African" case where, in addition to the legitimate owners who contract the lease, to a minimum number that accepts it, there are about five thousand total abusive and ten thousand others who are only now aware that they are not owners of a good thing and They hate the airport because it made them discover. Adding lawyers who do their job, intermediaries who do so too much and the improper (oddio, maybe not the right adjective) local bureaucracy and Penelope's canvas is complete, ready to be undone at every new inspection, news, judgment.
It is difficult for one of the two political factions involved in the project (on the one hand, the majority of the Government, through the Ministry of Transport and the airport authority, on the other hand, the Kilifi County, administered by the Opposition) to take the eviction.
This can not be done before the upcoming elections, which presumably will not change much as President Kenyatta's party looks like, and the challenger Odinga (and Kingi's Governor) will rejoin the county.
Strategically, perhaps only in the first months of a new mandate, the government can challenge the loss of popularity in the Malindi suburbs and act resolutely.
Meanwhile, as we have always done, we expect the hero to come back from his adventures in the Aegean ... pardon, in the Indian Ocean and spend our energies to make it clear to those who come for the first time, to those who would like to invest, Just to complain, to those who already attend and not yet noticed, that Africa has always been so, and we must love it because there are thousands and wonderful the natural, spiritual and human canvas that the Penelope Black has woven for us and it will not be the airport's track to mitigate its charm and attractiveness.
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