In Summary
  • In July a stowaway fell off a Kenya Airways Plane that was headed to Heathrow in a sad story that defies all logic.
  • Given the complexity of the matter that usually involves civil aviation authorities, airlines, and governments across international boundaries, the incident involving our own national carrier makes us, as Kenyans, ask a number of questions.
  • Given the complexity of the matter that usually involves civil aviation authorities, airlines, and governments across international boundaries, the incident involving our own national carrier makes us, as Kenyans, ask a number of questions.
  • Many may ignore this issue, but it may be an indication of desperate times for many young people.

Jumping Trains, a poem that recited at for the national school music festivals in the old day, used to be great fun. Though the poem rings happy memories of children taking the risk of getting unauthorised train rides, it was in essence talking of a stowaway.

This is a person who wants to travel on a train, plane, motor vehicle, without paying the due fare where applicable, without being detected and without making a fore declaration as is required of all other passengers.

In Kenya one often sees young men hanging onto the back of lorries away from the rear view of drivers. Though many stowaways seem to have fun, in reality it is a reckless and dangerous pursuit that can be fatal.

In July a stowaway fell off a Kenya Airways plane that was headed to Heathrow in a sad story that defies all logic. Rather than being considered in isolation, the stowaway should be used as an indication of the state of affairs for Kenyan youth. According to experts only one in four flight stowaway survive the journey, never mind that there may be many more than is documented as it is not possible to tell at what point a body will ‘fall from the sky’. It is only those bodies that get to airports or fall off the plane near airports that are documented as stowaways.

QUESTIONS

Given the complexity of the matter that usually involves civil aviation authorities, airlines, and governments across international boundaries, the incident involving our own national carrier makes us, as Kenyans, ask a number of questions.

Is it possible that there are adult Kenyans who remain completely undocumented? In an ideal situation, finger prints from the British police to the Kenyan authorities should not take four months to match to a name, parents, location all the way down to village, given that a National Identity card is not just mandatory, but the system goes to great lengths to ensure that this data is captured.

It is interesting that the Kenyan police are able to assign the artists impression – from the London police, to an incarcerated Kenyan. Any artistic impressions from such incidents all look the same, youthful, desperately cold, dark faces frozen in time. Does this mean that Kenya keeps better data and pictures on prisoners than on youth whose data is captured under the registration of persons?

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