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Toys, drones: Kenyans clog JKIA customs

OPINION
By Peter Kimani | September 3rd 2021
A Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Officer and his dog search through luggage at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi on March 9, 2016. [Cyrus Ombati]

The Jomo Kenyatta International Airport’s storage at Customs is running out because Kenyans have been depositing imports that are prohibited in the country. These include drones, firearms, shisha contraptions and sex toys.

Although it’s understandable why the first two items would be prohibited, it is unclear why the latter two shouldn’t be allowed into the country. And it’s even more confusing about the kind of documentation needed to clear them.

For instance, the Kenya Revenue Authority requires that those importing drones to produce a raft of certificates, including one on air-worthiness. It is unclear what kind of proof one would adduce to show they have the capacity to use a dildo effectively.

A quick search on social media revealed such gadgets are locally available, so perhaps it could be that it is not their use that’s restricted, but distribution. Still, it’s the motivation for such restrictions that still befuddle.

As for shisha, there would be good reasons, especially public health considerations, now that we’re in the middle of a pandemic and sharing of such gadgets would expose users to unnecessary risks.

Whatever the case, importers who want to salvage their items have until the end of this month to pick their merchandise or risk having them destroyed.

In Balala’s animal kingdom, why are some animals are more equal than others?

In Balala’s animal kingdom, why are some animals more equal than others?

Waziri Najib Balala, I send you greetings, many as the sea sands, or leaves in the bush! I hear you have a wonderful plan to revitalise our wildlife. And for a small fee of nusu-mita, or 500k, you can have a humongous animal like an elephant adopted and named after mere mortals like yours truly.

I’m not sure how this would work; would the animals know they now bear human names? Would they meet their human benefactors so that they acquaint themselves with their scents to prevent accidental attacks?

And is the naming ritual for a limited duration, or is it for keeps? The latter point is important. I guess it’d be confusing for a pachyderm to answer to a name like “Kimani” then a few months later, he’s renamed “Imani.”

But as a man of modest means, I’d like to urge you to consider this adoption to be extended to smaller animals by targeting the mass market, and smaller animals that can found within our wilds.

For starters, how about adopting a hyena? I think that would be a popular choice among the menfolk, given that hyena attitudes pervade in our land. In fact, fisi has entered our lexicon as a legitimate human trait. And how much would it cost to adopt a hare named? I think many politicians would adopt the hare, given their jumpy manner and unpredictability. The deal is, as long as one has adopted an animal, the folks at the Wildlife ministry must be able to produce it at short notice, to meet its benefactor, if need be.

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