The Altech Sameer East Africa Data Centre, otherwise called Kenya Data Network’s (KDN) Data Centre, which has been under construction since 2009, was opened today at the Sameer Business Park along Nairobi’s Mombasa Road.
While the opening and unveiling of the multi-million dollar facility was meant to be a grand and “auspicious occasion” – as those in government are wont to say – there were some notably “un-grand” and remarkably significant scenes witnessed at the event held today.
Apart from the chief guest Prime Minister Raila Odinga coming in almost two hours after the other guests had arrived at the venue at the stipulated time (according to the invites sent earlier) of 9:30 am, the other scenes were yet to unfold.
Upon the PM’s arrival, it was not lost on the guests that despite this being an official function, with the official programme bearing the government’s court of arms, Odinga was accompanied by his spouse, Mrs Ida Odinga, and their son, Fidel Odinga.
There was however no government officer from the ministry of Information and Communication at the opening of the facility which lists government departments and institutions as being among its key target clients.
According to the programme, the minister for information and communication Samuel Poghisio was meant to speak and then invite the PM to make his keynote address. In minister Poghisio’s absence, and because there was no one from the ministry sent to represent him, Sameer Group chief executive Naushad Merali had to invite the Odinga.
Perhaps not anticipating any absence and convinced that minister Poghisio would accompany PM Odinga to the opening of the Data Centre , the press release distributed after the event still reads:
Officiating at the official opening was the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya, The Right Honorable Raila Odinga. He was accompanied by the Minister for Information and Communication, the Honorable Samuel Poghisio, along with various local business leaders and diginitaries.”
The message this kind of snub is meant to convey to the investors behind the facility is unimaginable considering that the data centre aims to get business from corporate clients and financial institutions looking for international standards in data storage and security from the East African region.