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Over the years, we have watched with disbelief the apparent “marriage” between our government with the giant tobacco company called BAT. This company has infiltrated our government structures from the rural areas, where cultural festivals are held, to cooperate business, to the state House where Presidential Awards are presented.

BAT is an annual donor to the Presidential award scheme. This scheme was introduced as a motivating
gesture aimed at encouraging our students to aim high. The beneficiaries of these awards are normally hosted by the President. What baffles us is the sponsorship of this event by BAT. Our President is apparently oblivious of the fact that he is introducing our youth to smoking. If they start smoking when under 18 years, the country may not benefit from their talent.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology is also a regular recipient of sponsorship of its activities by BAT.

Under this Ministry are Education and micro-enterprise dockets. BAT – Kenya is a regular sponsor of the annual Kenya and Drama Festivals. The best performers are normally hosted at State House by The President. BAT, a manufacturer of the Toxic killer product – Tobacco, is here pretending to be not only nurturing talent, but also appreciating it!! Can these talented musicians and performers live long enough to reap the fruits of their talent if they start smoking young? My answer is NEVER.

The other sector that falls under this Ministry is small-scale Traders (Micro-entrepreneurs). The exhibition of their products is annually sponsored by BAT. BAT is portraying itself as pro-poor and pro-business. We view this as an advertising opportunity. If BAT is pro-anything, it is DEATH.

The Minister in charge should be told this as plainly as possible.

Kenya is a country of about 42 ethnic communities with rich, diverse cultural heritage. Most of these communities hold annual cultural celebrations in December. These are occasions when the youth learn cultural norms from the old generation. BAT has overexploited such occasions by advertising Tobacco under the guise of sponsorship. These celebrations are sometimes attended by The President.

Tobacco Industry’s association with our culture does not auger well with the development of our generation. They will start smoking young, die young leading to the death of our cultures!! They may not therefore live to bequeath the next generation the cultural lessons learnt now!!

The proliferation of our government by the Tobacco Industry does not end there. The ministry of Tourism and information has not been spared. On August 11, 2001, it was reported in one of the daily Tabloids of BAT’s contribution of Sh. 1.5 million (about US$. 20,000) towards Best Journalist of the year award. It was further reported that our President will be the chief guest at the presentation date.

That BAT is allowed by the government to identify with our best is pathetic if not embarrassing. BAT is identifying with our BEST academic achievers, Talented drama groups/choirs, micro-entrepreneurs, Journalists is disturbing. Our BEST are the role models of our society .They should not be contaminated by the tobacco industry. These occasions are opportunities for advertising the killer product- TOBACCO!!

Our President is the CEO of the government. He should NEVER attend functions sponsored by an industry churning out killer agents – Tobacco.


I write to urge you and your colleagues to write to The President asking him to:

1. Instruct the Ministers whose ministries are collaborating with Tobacco Industry to look for
alternative sponsors.

2. Stop hosting / attending any function sponsored by tobacco industry as it is giving them undeserved honour. He is a non-smoker and therefore should not associate with Tobacco.

The contacts are as follows:

H. E Daniel T. Arap Moi
President – Republic of Kenya
State House – Nairobi
P. O. Box 40530


Best regards,
George Banja.
Kenya Alliance Against Tobacco (KAAT)