06-03-2017 by Freddie del Curatolo
April 26, 1967, alongside his mentor Luigi Broglio, the Italian coach Franco Esposito was in the team which organized north of Malindi the launch of the first satellite in space from Eastern Africa.
Today, fifty years later, the Kenyan citizen Franco Esposito, better known by locals as Kasoso Wa Baya, is a candidate for the second time in national elections to get a place in the Kenyan parliament. It would be the first "Mzungu" Italian to join the elite of Kenyan politics.
In between these two events, there is a great professional adventure, human and social development of a unique character.
"I arrived in Kenya a few months after the country had achieved independence in February 1964 - said Esposito - the engineer Broglio had just signed an agreement with the African country to prepare a launch base for satellites in space to Ngomeni, thirty kilometers north of Malindi. it was the first international agreement that the new president of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta, was signing. "
Broglio actually wanted the Italian base in Kismayo, Somalia, on the zero meridian and in a country historically pro-Italian. But the government of Aden Osman looked fell to communist Russia and the fundamental support of the Americans and NATO would never have offered their essential support.
So Broglio folded on -2 equator of Ungwana Bay and called a bunch of young technicians and capable.
"I went back to Kenya the following year - continues Esposito - and then I was sent to perfect myself in the US. But in 1966 my African life in the service began.
Install the launching pads was an unforgettable experience, the Americans themselves could not comprehend that we had arranged everything in less than six months and that during the phases of implementation there was no escaping the dead. We used also means luck, but we were young and reckless. To climb the platforms were using improvised ladders and rope to hoist Broglio we used the same chords, and he slipped into a bucket. "
I worked alongside Luigi Broglio 36 years, until his death in 2001. After that I left the base S.Marco announcing that I could have no other superiors in my work, after working with the biggest of all, the father the Italian aerospace physics. The following year I decided that I would stay to live forever in what by now had become my new country and I have started the paperwork to ask the Kenyan "citizenship.
Meanwhile Esposito he married a Dutch girl who worked as a tour leader in a Malindi resort and had a son, who now lives in South Africa.
"At that time, and until the mid-eighties - remember the candidate in the Kenyan elections - Malindi was a tourism destination of the highest level. There were luxury hotels such as Sinbad and Lawford's, came American actors and personalities from all over the world. we at the space center in Malindi on Saturday evening we were looking for fun, he went dancing. that was how I met my future wife, with whom later I opened the Woburn Residence ".
During his years at the base of Ngomeni, Franco stands out along with other colleagues, for social aid to the local population projects. Almost always these are private initiatives, carried out with their own economic resources. E 'in charge of the construction of the first primary school of the village of Ngomeni, then it does build some wells in particularly dry areas and other buildings that are still used as offices or to public utility premises in Magarini district.
"It 'was how the elders of Magarini and surroundings, the" Council of Elders ", they asked me to enter politics, in 2007. They saw in me a can through honest that would really done their interests. They took me to do a ride inland poorest and forgotten and I saw situations that needed to be brought to the attention of Nairobi. But I was not convinced to be so popular with those who would have voted for me. I asked the elders if they were so sure that their people he would have voted a white, one. "mzungu" I answered that I was no longer a mzungu, and that if we cut, the blood that would have flowed was the same. With a sacred ceremony gave me a Mijikenda name, Kasoso Wa Baya. the "kasoso" is a small bird, but stubborn and very intelligent, according to the old sages represented me very well. "
So Kasoso Wa Baya tries to bring his professionalism and his ideas developing in Nairobi, but the wretched than ten years ago the elections went to the dogs throughout the country, and this time the word "fraud" for Esposito did not evoke the most famous scientist friend, but a practice that did not allow the first Italian to sit in the Parliament of Kenya.
"At subsequent elections, those of 2013 - explains compatriot - had entered into force the new constitution that allowed only those who had citizenship at least ten years to run for MP. And I for only two months was eliminated from contention. But the heaven has given me another chance and I decided, for the promise made to the people of Magarini, of ripresentarmi for the upcoming elections in August. I do so with a program that is a key priority education and health, but also the development industrial and improvement of services and infrastructure for the benefit of tourism on the coast. "
Franco Kasoso looks for KADU ASILI, independent formation of the nearest land to the majority opposition, has very clear ideas and is ready to turn them into projects, and above all has a very different view from many Kenyan politicians of "public ".
"If I am elected - reveals Esposito - devolverò the full salary, which will be used for social works in the Magarini District decided from time to time by an assembly of citizens. If they want to give priority to health, education, agriculture or other needs, i'll agree. it would be nice, at least in part, all the MPs did so."
We Malindi and surroundings we root for Kasoso Wa Baya.
And not just because it is Italian.
by Freddie del Curatolo
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