Richard Quest’s tweet on Nairobi traffic jam elicits mixed reactions from Kenyans

CNN business news host Richard Quest, who is on Kenyan visit, on Wednesday tweeted about his experience on Nairobi roads, and Twitter users took the opportunity to share with him some of the troubles city residents are going through besides the traffic snarl-ups, which Quest had highlighted on his post.

“The roundabouts have new traffic lights; which are usually switched off. Instead, a policeman directs the traffic flow. The jams are extraordinary. #Nairobi #Kenya,” tweeted Quest.

Online user Robert Fungo Matanda attempted – in his own thinking –, to explain the presence of traffic police officers on areas they are “not necessarily needed”.

Matanda said  on Twitter: “I hope you noticed that the police officers at the roundabouts appear unfit with round pot bellies; switched off traffic lights increases chances of receiving a bribe from motorists. Kenyans, generally, don’t trust technology because technology eliminates corruption.”

Another user, whose Twitter identity is Evans Kimosop, said: “Richard Quest, welcome to Kenya, where we are always in a hurry. We don’t wait for the traffic lights to turn green. So, the police [officers] are there to stop us. In addition, Kenya is a great country, [and] with time, the traffic jam [problem] will be sorted.”

However, a section of Twitter users thought that it wasn’t right for Kenyans to “air their dirty linen in public”.

David George said: “As a diplomat, I humbly put forward that when a foreigner is in the country, try to depict the bright side of [Kenya]; it is good for the country. Besides, he [Quest] will not solve your problems upon raising them. Manners please! Some people think the US is a utopian setup, free of flaws, No!”

Sam Gichuru said: “The shame you feel every time a visitor tweets something that is not working in Kenya then Kenyan children compete to give them a list of other things that are not working.  If we visited your ‘shagz’ and made such a comment, would you pour out your family issues?”

A different quota, however, was of the contrary opinion – that the bad needs to be aired, no matter what, for development to be embraced.

Dan Bickeez said: “The biggest problem now in Kenya is such a mindset that wants to be sugar-coated and praised all the time. Surely, if you come to a country where it takes 1 hour to cover 6kms, wont you be shocked?!”

Shiru Mwangi tweeted: “We can keep hiding the mediocrity that is some of our systematic failures. However, the reality is that Kenya has a lot of opportunities, but we must clean our act and hold the government accountable.”

Quest is in Kenya for work-related engagements; and is expected to board the maiden KQ direct-flight from Nairobi to New York on October 28.

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