White Elephants and Windfalls

As African airports go, Eldoret International Airport is one of the finest. The taps in the toilets all work, its runway is long enough for a 747 and there are no queues at check-in. All as it should be for an airport that opened barely 10 years ago and cost $49m.
It’s a darn sight better than Kisumu airport, which often closes down in the rainy season when its runway falls apart. It offers only domestic flights, despite serving a much bigger city than Eldoret.
The difference, of course, is that Eldoret has provided a Kenyan president while Kisumu has not.
Eldoret International Airport was one of President Daniel arap Moi’s pet projects, a white elephant that was supposed to bring jobs and money to his Kalenjin tribe living around the town.
And while it’s difficult to argue with opposition leader Raila Odinga’s position that President Mwai Kibaki stole the election, I can’t help but think he might be more interested in white elephants than electoral justice. His supporters in Kisumu are certainly expecting a windfall if their man makes it to State House.

Jaguba Nyabanda Anyango, a mechanic, says: “[Mr. Kibaki] has taken his people to the government. Now we want [Odinga] to take all Luos to government and provide jobs.”