How the Boeing 737-800 went down: Plane was one of KQ’s newly acquired crafts

The Boeing 737-800 that went down in Niete, Southern Cameroon yesterday with 106 passengers and eight crew members and a flight engineer on board was one of three such aircraft belonging to Kenya Airways that operates more transcontinental flights than any other African airline.

Flight 507 originated from Ivory Coast and its intended destination was Nairobi with a stopover in Cameroon to pick up additional passengers before crashing 200 kilometers from Douala.

In 2004 Kenya Airways announced the phasing out of Boeing 737-200 fleet, and replacement with New Generation Boeing 737-800. All the three 737-800s with capacity to carry 129 passengers and 16 crew were delivered from Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise.

With an average fleet age of 9.8 years, Kenya Airways is among world air careers with the most modern planes and boasts of an impeccable safety record with Flight 507 being only the second major accident suffered by the airliner since Flight 431; an Airbus 310-300 crashed in Abidjan in 2001.

Before yesterday’s tragedy, only one other Boeing 737-800 belonging to Gol Transportes Aeroes of Brazil had crashed killing all 154 on board.

In an incident that occurred on September 29 last year, the ill fated aircraft was involved in a midair collision with an Embraer Legacy 600 military jet. Amazingly, the military Legacy landed safely at a Brazilian Air Force Base.

Boeing’s Next Generation 737-800 is among the largest member of the strong selling 737 family. Unlike the other Next Generation 737s, the 767-800 introduce new fuselage lengths, extending 737 single class seating range out to 189, compared with 100 in the original 737-100.

Until its launch on September 5, 1994 the 737-800 was known as the 737-400X Stretch. Compared with the 737-400, the 737-800 is 3.02m (9ft 9in) longer, taking typical two class seating from 146 to 162, while range is significantly increased.

The 737-800 has sold strongly since its launch, and early 2002 was the highest selling Next Generation Boeing model. Its maiden flight was on July 31 1997, first delivery (to Hapag Lloyd) was in April 1998.

By the end of that year, 1,028 737-800s had been ordered with 664 delivered by October 2002.

The 737 design enhancements allow operators to fly increased payload in and out of airports with runways less than 5,000 feet long.

The design enhancements include a two-position tail skid that enables reduced approach speeds, sealed leading-edge slats that provide increased lift during takeoff, and increased flight spoiler deflection on the ground that improves takeoff and landing performance.

The enhancements increase payload capability for landing up to 3,628 kilograms on the 737-800. They also increase payload capability for takeoff up to 908 kilograms on the 737-800 in relation to its predecessors.

The short-field performance changes were developed starting in 2004. The flight-test program was conducted on a new 737-800 and began when the airplane made its first flight on January 24 last year.

The Next-Generation 737s including the 800 are 10 years newer and fly higher, faster and farther than competing models. The 737 is now so widely used that at any given time, there are over 1,250 airborne worldwide. On average, one takes off or lands every five seconds.

By the end of March 2007 a total of 6,866 737s had been ordered and 5351 delivered worldwide.

US gives Somalia Sh6.4 billion

THE US government has pledged Sh6.4 billion ($40 million) to the Somalia Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to go into assisting in the deployment of an African stabilisation force.

US ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger said the money will also be used to revive the country’s civil society to foster peace and democracy.

Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Minister Raphael Tuju and six Cabinet colleagues have embarked on a mission to convince other African states to contribute forces to restore peace in Somalia. Ranneberger said the ministers, under the leadership of Tuju, were making headway in convincing as many countries as possible to avail their troops in the shortest time possible, with Uganda already having pledged 1500 troops.

Briefing the media yesterday at the US embassy in Nairobi, Ranneberger said US was committed to supporting the peace process in Somalia, adding that it would not relent until stability is achieved by encouraging dialogue between the warring factions.

He called on the international community to provide more funds to support the African stabilisation force and other functions of the TFG.

He defended his country against accusations that it had vested interest in Somalia in view of recent air strikes by its troops, saying US interest in Somalia was to restore peace and stability besides flushing out al Qaeda elements in the country.

He said it was evident that al Qaeda’s influence in Somalia had waned since the ouster of the Islamic Courts Union government by Ethiopian troops, adding that TFG led by President Abdullahi Yussuf still needs the support of the international community in consolidating its operations in the capital Mogadishu.

Education: The new vehicle and discrimination weapon of a class society

Any child’s dream as it grows up is to have an education that inculcates in it the real virtues of life. At ten years of age, every child has his or her school of choice, which he wishes to pursue in his later education.

It is worth noting that the particular school one attends shapes the life of the particular individual. American writer Maya Angelou wrote that:

“We are all creative, but by the time we are three of four years old, someone has knocked the creativity out of us. Some people shut up the kids who start to tell stories. Kids dance in their cribs, but someone will insist they sit still. By the time the creative people are ten or twelve, they want to be like everyone else.”

Education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it and for the same reason to save it from that ruin.

An education, too, is where we decide whether we love our children enough not to expel them from our world and leave them to their own devices, or to strike from their hands their choice of undertaking something new, something unforeseen by us, but to prepare them for the task of renewing a common world.

In Britain, you need to either belong to the royal family or pass through, Eton College, Oxford or Cambridge Universities to be a ruler or a leader, both in the private sector or the public sector.

In Japan being an alumnus of Waseda, University of Tokyo or Keio gives you a huge advantage if you aspire to be a leader in any sector.

In USA, going through any of the seven, Ivy League Universities ensures that your path to leadership is much smoother and shorter, forget about grades for now.

Moreover, going to these schools is not accidental, parents start glooming their kids early in life. Kids put on attires with logos of such schools and accompany parents on special days. More importantly, they go to elementary and high schools that have a record of taking kids to such prestigious schools. You may call that social engineering but it works.

Few countries do not have flagship institutions where the next generation of leaders is prepared.

History more than anything else plays a role in determining the evolution of elite institutions, they are often the oldest in the country, with unique traditions and a solid base of successful alumni who ensure the name is maintained, and the new graduates, get into the system with ease-the old boys network.

When Narc came to power, there was a popular observation that having passed through Makerere or Mang’u greatly increased your probability of getting a plum job in the government or a seat in the board of directors of a major firm. This observation cannot be 100% untrue.

From a marketing point of view, public schools in Kenya have reached the shake-up stage. It is unlikely that new pubic schools will reach the stature of Alliance or Mang’u or other national schools that have a tradition of excellence.

The shift to market economy in the ’80s came to education sector late. It started in the elementary and high school. The next move will be in the Universities. Currently, public Universities still predominate and take the best students, because of history and the fact that they have lucrative courses like medicine, law and engineering.

Private universities have definitely tried to build a reputation of discipline and philanthropy; they have outdone public universities in public relations. However, public universities have lately become less prone to strikes; may be the democratic space has expanded and the gap between schooling and reality has narrowed.

Another interesting change that has been taking place in Kenya is entrenchment of class-consciousness. For a long time, Universities in Kenya were classless; you could go to class with a minister’s daughter and even date her. Today, people are doing all they can to show their class, and schooling is one such avenue.

This has greatly benefited the private universities. Nevertheless, the public universities thwarted that by introducing the parallel programmes, another class matter.

So who will rule in future? Where will the new elites come from?

The answer will be surprise to you. In Kenya, we are yet to get the Bushes or the Kennedies. Therefore, for now, self-made people must continue ruling us, at least politically. Economically it might be a different story altogether. Could the high salaries MPs awarded themselves be a realisation of this gap between political leadership and economic leadership?

Without favour or prejudice, self-made Kenyans are more likely to go through public universities. With some, neglect public university students mature faster, and get the motivation to pursue the power, prestige and wealth that comes with political offices.

The University has now become universities. These universities are in a cut-throat competition for students. And so are the elite private high schools that are salivating over the decline of some national schools, courtesy of mismanagement.

The next phase will be competition for prestige and production of leaders, the shakers and movers in the country’s political and economic leadership. Marketers may call this positioning. Which schools and universities will these be? Which schools will produce members of the cabinet and captains of the industry by 2050? My bet is that these schools may already be there; you are free to name them and take your children there.

 

All eyes are on Uhuru team to unravel scam

The Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) led by Leader of Official Opposition, Uhuru Kenyatta, jetted into the country on Friday after a trip to Lon­don where they received evidence from former Ethics Permanent Sec­re­tary, John Githongo, on Anglo Leasing scan­dal.

PAC has managed to keep evidence received from Githongo away from the nosy media in London only giving vague statements about what Githongo said. The team also de­cided to compile its report abroad to avoid unnec­essary dis­tractions they may be sub­jected to while in Kenya.

Now that the team is back, all eyes are set on it to help solve the puzzle of Anglo Leasing that is threatening the stability and future of Presi­dent Mwai Kibaki’s gov­ernment.

This is not the first time that a parliamentary committee is handling the Anglo Leasing issue. The pre­vious PAC led by South Mugirango MP, Omingo Magara, in­ves­ti­gated the scan­dal in 2004 and presented its report to Par­liament, but it was rejected after successful amendments to delete cer­tain para­graphs from it.

Unlike the previous team that summoned some of those involved while still in office, Uhuru’s team is undertaking the work when a good number of those implicated have stepped aside, leaving them with a free hand in the in­ves­ti­gations.

Speaking to Githongo while not on oath of office also gave them ad­van­tage of extracting valuable information that may have been kept away from the previous team. In the next few days, the team is expected to begin piecing together evidence from those implicated by Githongo and other people who dare to speak on the matter.

Obviously a lot of interests are at play on the matter and the team will find it difficult continuing with its work in the country given the attention it will attract and ex­pected machi­nations by those involved to subvert the cause of their work.

Before, there have been claims of individuals com­pro­mising MPs sitting in parliamentary committees to ma­nipu­late their reports. There have also been cases where members work to­gether only to disagree at the last minute when they begin pushing for the interests of their masters to be factored into the findings or recommendations of such reports.

So far we have not witnessed any of the above cases with the Uhuru team and we hope they will stay above trivi­alities that lead to such cases and concentrate on the noble duty of watching against plunder of public re­sources by government officials.

All that we ask is that they be diligent, accountable and single-mindedly pursue their job so that their reports do not suffer the same fate as previous ones. They must justify their budget to London by com­piling a report that will stand the test of time and help Ken­yans dis­man­tle corruption network.

Heed envoy’s advice

THAT Kenya‘s experiments with a coa­lition gov­ernment have become a cropper cannot be gain­said. Though the National Rainbow Coa­lition, Narc, was expected by many to pro­vide so­lutions to political problems facing the coun­try, the idea has become a very big dis­appointment.

No sooner had the Coalition been elected to office than its members began quarrelling over an unfulfilled power sharing Memo­ran­dum of Understanding (MoU), plunging the country into political instability that continue to de­fine Presi­dent Mwai Kibaki’s rule.

Many of Kibaki’s failures has been attributed to its inabil­ity to control the coalition which has since dis­in­te­grated with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) quitting and joining the Oppo­sition. Though the coun­try is certain to be governed by coa­litions in future, nobody would like to go through the same ex­pe­riences we have had with Narc.

This is why we support advise by the outgoing German envoy, Bernd Braun, that the country should go slow on pre-election alliances. En­tering into coalition arrangements after elections is the only way to ensure they are formed on a basis of written agreements that bind leaders.