Limousines and the UN

(Updated below)

UP, a new magazine for Nairobi, was launched earlier this month. It looks a good – a nice mix of essays about the city and a great fashion spread by Jim Chuchu. It has all the minor mistakes and growing pains you would expect from a first issue but overall looks like it has a great deal of potential.

(Full disclosure: I’ve been asked to write for the next issue.)

The adverts – fancy hotels and expensive watches – give an indication of the sort of person the magazine is aimed at: Kenyans and ex-pats with money to spend. The first advert is a little strange though. It is for Limousine Transfers, a company that does what it says. Below the picture of a smiling uniformed driver and a relaxed-looking business executive, is a quote from a satisfied customer:

“It’s funny how the madding city traffic jams seem to go unnoticed.”

Let’s leave aside the question of whether the smoothness of the leather seats or the privacy of the tinted windows will really make you feel any better about being stuck on Mombasa Road. The thing that’s odd is the identity of man who enjoys taking limos:

Dr Farouk Ali, Senior Communications Liaison; United Nations Office Nairobi

You’d think that after kerfuffles over UNEP officials driving gas guzzlers or UN bosses complaining that Nairobi is getting safer (thus losing up to $5,500 in “danger money”), its senior management would be a bit more careful about giving the impression that they spend their money – our money – wisely.

Update: According to Swamp Cottage, there is no ‘Farouk Ali’ working at the UN. Apologies. However, it begs the question: has someone at Limousine Transfers made up a fake UN spokesman to back it company?

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5 responses to “Limousines and the UN

  1. Nice catch. That it’s a “communications” official who should have known better than to say something this tone-deaf seems particularly apt.

  2. Sorry to be a party pooper, but UNEP spokesperson Nick Nuttall tells me he is “mystified” and is not aware of anyone with that name working in communications at UNON.

  3. He doesn’t exist.

  4. Perhaps its another one of those briefcase tenders that the UN are so good at getting caught with…but given their overt love for hardship allowances and SUVs to keep them safe in between Gigiri and Village Market, I would place my bets on Dr. Farouk.

  5. I see the UN is sticking together on this one

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