I am discussing an article published on Tuesday, January 4, 2022, by Bonface Otieno on Business Daily Africa a Kenyan news outlet, I’ll leave the link below so you can read it at your leisure.

To quickly summarize the article, the American Fast food chain KFC based in Kenya had run out of chips, let’s just call fries, I mean around this part of the globe, it’s equivalent to watching Black Panther without Chadwick Boseman, it’s just not the same. Due to the current state of the world & according to the article the KFC CEO for East Africa said and I quote,

It has to do with delays in shipping lines due to the Covid situation. Ships have been delayed for more than a month now, but we are working hard to restore as the first containers are arriving in the port tomorrow.

Tomorrow as in the day this article was published which means the communication took place on Monday. Let me spell it out just in case you didn’t get it. KFC in Kenya imports its fries from outside the country, they do not buy from Kenyan farmers. Keep in mind Kenya grows more than 60 different varieties of potatoes. Before you ask why can’t KFC buy from Kenyan farmers, let me quote what the CEO had to say about the subject.

The reason we cannot buy locally at the moment is all suppliers need to go through the global QA approval process, and we cannot bypass that even if we run out to ensure that our food is safe for consumption by our customers.

All this explains, the uproar on social media from Kenyans after finding out that the reasons why they couldn’t get fries on their menus from KFC on that day, was because KFC imports its potatoes from abroad, KFC does not buy from local farmers, and maybe some people were just unhappy they couldn’t get their fries. Imagine that, a whole family bucket without fries. However, KFC to their credit they offered alternatives… a lot of my fellow Africans out there always trying to be fancy, but Ugali (Fufu) wins all the time. Anyways, back to the topic, many expressed their frustration on social media, but one thing that stood out to me was to find out that there was a National Potato Council of Kenya. The president of the council Mr. Wachira Kaguongo allegedly said,

KFC should consider creating synergies with local suppliers to allow them to source the commodity from Kenyan farmers.

Let’s just think for a second KFC began operating in Kenya back in 2011, and I am writing this in January 2022. Think about all the crispy opportunities local farmers have missed through no fault of their own, & these are opportunities the country could’ve benefited from.

Now, this is my take on it, I do not think KFC was in the wrong and I’ll tell you why. What is happening here is not anything new on the continent. Saying it’s not anything new is not approving these behaviors, but it is saying that we should have learned from them and done something about it a long time ago. KFC did not impose itself in Kenya like the French army in French-speaking African countries, I believe KFC met and signed deals with local authorities, Therefore, they have no legal obligation to buy from local farmers if it wasn’t part of the deal. My question is, who were the people in charge of the negotiation to bring KFC to Kenya? They should be the ones called up to come and explain this situation to the people, and not KFC.

Now, instead of wasting my time and your time talking about everything that went wrong, let me just get to the point. This is how it should’ve been handled back in 2011.

Look here KFC, my government will give you two years where you can import your fries from every corner of this planet & universe. My Government will use those two years to make sure local farmers meet the international standards, and after those two years. You will either buy directly from us or you can close the door on your way out. It is simple as that!

KFC is in the business of making money, it’s not a charity! They do not come to our countries to do us a favor, in reality, it is us who are doing them a favor by opening our markets to them. Therefore, it’s on us to make sure we are benefitting from the partnership. That is not KFC's job, that is our job. Some people are calling for boycotting KFC in Kenya, let’s be honest we are a spoiled generation. The same people around us who are twitting & putting the hashtags boycott KFC, are probably doing it with their fingers full of oil while sitting in front of a family bucket.

I have always felt like boycotting something is a temporary solution, and we cannot apply temporary solutions to permanent African problems. We have all heard stories of foreign companies bringing workers from their countries to build infrastructures or repair equipment on our continent. Why aren't we putting in place and adopting measures like other Governments on our continent?

You want to do business in our country, that’s great. However, a large percentage of your employees must be from this country, and all your employees must be paid in this country.

That’s why you will never find me blaming these companies because they are only doing what we are allowing them to do. Now, if someone argues that they are breaking the law. Then, we must make sure they feel the full weight of the justice system of the countries. Regardless of their nationality or pressures from their embassies in the country.

Back to the subject, the following day after the publication of thee article the brother Bonface Otieno came through with some fire updates and it read,

KFC opens doors for local potato suppliers who meet standards.

It took what? Social media outrage and a few articles about the subject for KFC to come through with an executive decision within 24 hours, now imagine if this was backed by a Government policy? Later, down the road what if KFC turns around and says, "you guys are still not up to standard" and ditches the local farmers. Are we going to come to cry again? I mean, regardless of those standards I still think Kenyan farmers should be supported by the local authorities to reach international standards because we never know with such big players. One more thing we have to consider is that a lot of these companies come to our continent with already a lot of negative preconceived ideas about us which is impossible to change.

In my humble opinion, anybody whose job is to change their perception of us is a mad person because it’s a waste of time. I am not here to change anybody's perception of me, my culture, or my people. That is their problem to deal with, not mine. However, when people attempt to disrespect me in my backyard, the first thing I ask myself is,

What is it about me or what impression did I give that made them feel comfortable enough to try me, in my backyard?

obviously, as I'm self-reflecting, I am also swiftly dealing with the situation accordingly in a way that tells them, to play with their mother’s breasts before they ever think about playing with me. You can never separate the African that I am with good old African sayings.

Anyways, so far through several articles that I have checked, I have not yet seen a reaction from the political class. Their silence is so loud that my ears hurt. I have seen some of my fellow Africans blame KFC and the Western policies in regards to this matter. I can understand some of their argument, but I refuse to be a victim in our continent. The only time I used KFC in Nairobi was to tell a taxi driver where I was standing so I could be picked up. I say that to say, if it was just up to me, then KFC business would have never prospered on the African continent. I am more of a Nyama Choma person if I have to eat out. Thinking about this whole situation it would be interesting to know if KFC imports its fries to all the African countries where they operate. If anybody has the answer please let me know.

In conclusion, every day I’m concerned when I see some of my fellow African brothers & sisters voluntarily trying to adopt the worst type of western diet while living in societies that cannot cope with the diseases these poor choices in diets come with. At the end of the day, it is the Kenyan people who hold the key to this problem whether they know it or not.