Nairobi: The Kenyan press on Monday appealed to New Zealand to reconsider its refusal to play its World Cup matches in Nairobi this month because of security concerns. "Boycotting the Nairobi matches and attempting to have it moved to South Africa is simply handing victory to the terrorists and justifying their worthless, inhuman cause," the leading independent 'Daily Nation' newspaper warned in its editorial.
New Zealand announced on Friday it would not play its World Cup match in Kenya on February 21 due to fears for the safety and security of players. Sri Lanka, which is also due to play one of the two matches scheduled for Nairobi, said it will honour its fixture. But the paper stressed that, "Kenya remains firm, despite bearing the scars inflicted by acts of terrorism, and in the same spirit, should not let the terrorists dictate our lives."
The 'East African Standard' newspaper warned that any consideration by International Cricket Council (ICC) to move New Zealand's World Cup fixtures from Nairobi would be "bizarre" and would set a "very bad precedent for the future". "Now the question is, would the ICC be talking the same language if it was about Kenya, or is it because we are a Third World country? Kenya must not allow the ICC to toss it around," the 'Standard's' editorial said.
'The People' newspaper pointed out that if history of attacks by terrorists were to be used as a benchmark for hosting international tournaments, "then the term international tournaments would surely take its place in the dustbin of history". "The New Zealanders have quite clearly opted to give yet another victory to Osama bin Laden and other murderous cowards of his ilk," it added.
The opposition Kenya African National Union (KANU) party newspaper, 'Kenya Times', said it was not too late for New Zealand to reconsider its boycott decision and travel to Nairobi so that cricket lovers in this country are not denied a chance to watch the game at its highest level. On Thursday the International Cricket Council's executive board voted 10 to two in favour of going ahead with the two World Cup matches in Kenya despite New Zealand's security fears.