The following is Communication from the Transitioning Africa Team, who had a meeting in Nairobi last week. Speculation was rife after it was misreported that a "local politician" had bundled the participants out of his hotel. upon request from Transitioning Africa, we held back any commuincation till they made an official statement. This was for safety and security concerns.
Greetings from Transitioning Africa.
This is to confirm that we had a capacity building camp going on in Nairobi at a local hotel and the reasons why we left are as follows.
The first two days of the camp went as scheduled but at the end of the second day the management called us and told us that we had not informed them of “the kind of group” we had. They also mentioned that over the weekend when we had arrived and considering it had coincided with a public holiday, they had guests over and some of the guests complained asking them (management) “what kind of people are you having here?” Other guests apparently cancelled their bookings because of us and even some staff were discriminatory to us in that they didn’t want to serve us. They went on to tell us that they have no problem having us stay at the hotel but on condition that our participants “change their dress code”. Obviously this was not something we would agree to and we came to the conclusion that we could not continue as planned but would go on until Friday. This date came about due to the hotel informing us of potential altercation with certain groups that were booked into the hotel over the weekend. There were three Church groups and one high profile meeting consisting of politicians and potentially the media. The management expressed their discomfort and unwillingness to have us in the same space with these groups. Furthermore they indicated that they could not guarantee our safety. With this in mind, we felt that the environment had become hostile and unsafe for our participants to be in and we felt it better for us to leave at the agreed date of Friday.
However, a Nairobi LGBTI news website had got wind of the events occurring and posted very potentially damaging information on their website. Considering the way the story was put, it it aggravated our insecurity. We then had to act fast. We immediately organised transport to get us out on Thursday morning and continue the meeting elsewhere while we arranged for participants to safely get home.
We would like to thank everyone for their concerns. We have gotten everyone safely in their homes and that was our primary concern.
We however note that our insecurity was heightened due to the fact that the information that went public was misrepresentative, taken out of context and posed a much greater risk to our participants.
We felt and still feel that this mode of spreading of information and misrepresentation jeopardises any security measures being taken by meeting organisers on the ground and express that future concerns be addressed with the security of persons in mind."
On behalf of The Transitioning Africa Team"
On behalf of The Transitioning Africa Team