Kibaki cancels New Year bash

Dawn silence in the Eastern suburbs of Nairobi was broken today as residents pondered the early arrival of Kenya Airforce Puma helicopters at the Moi Airbase.

Kenya Airforce Puma helicopter

Kenya Airforce Puma helicopter

Rumors started because the Airforce rarely takes to the air so early, except for critical missions. Those familiar with the events of August 1978 remember the dawn flight of a Kenya Airforce Buffalo cargo plane from Mombasa, marking the end of an era – and the beginnings of another.

By 9am today, State House announced that President Mwai Kibaki had cancelled the annual New Year party usually held in Mombasa. For many years, Kenyan Presidents have welcomed each New Year at Mombasa. It remains to be seen why Kibaki had a sudden change in plans.

With shortages in food and fuel, a disenchanted citizenry, problems with the dissolution of the Electoral Commission of Kenya and a looming teachers strike, the Kenyan leader may have just decided to begin 2009’s work today.

Update: 31st December 2008:

State House announces that there will be no New Year party but the President will be addressing the nation from Mombasa State House. Looks like the above aircraft was carrying some other government official. Still, its unusually early presence in the skies gave rise to plentiful speculation.

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