Deputy President William Ruto and Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga ar among key dignitaries expected to attend the fifth annual Turkana cultural and tourism festival slated from the 14th to the 17th of August in Lodwar town.
Turkana County Executive Committee member for Culture and Tourism Charles Lokioto confirmed that the Sports and Culture CS Amina Mohammed and 15 other governors had registered their attendance.
According to Lokioto, international delegates from Ethiopia, Uganda and South Sudan will attend the fete.
Nyangatom and Dasanach communities’ representatives from Ethiopia, those from Karamoja in Uganda and the Toposa from South Sudan will attend the cultural fete.
Lokioto added that the county government will spend Sh 30 million for the four-day festival.
The departments of Culture and Tourism, Health and Roads in the county are some of the key dockets that will be contributing towards funding of the event.
“We have budgeted Sh 30 million for the festival but for now we don’t have the money because of the budget allocation issues that are being sorted at the national level,” he said.
The National Assembly and the Senate are currently locked in a dispute over the Division of Revenue Bill 2019.
Senators want counties to be allocated Sh 335 billion as per the Commission on Revenue Allocation recommendation while the National Assembly has allocated county governments Sh 316 billion.
The matter is expected to go for mediation at a time when the President has also said the national government does not have more funds for the counties.
On his part Lokioto said the fete will bring benefits for the region by not only fostering peaceful coexistence but also financial benefits to traders especially those in the transport and hospitality industries.
“Most flights to Lodwar are fully booked and as well as the hotels in Lodwar,” he said.
The management of Cradle Hotel, one of the high end hotels in Lodwar, said they are fully booked during the festival.
Other benefits also include giving traditional dancers an opportunity to showcase their culture and also provide an opportunity to bring the county residents together.
County Security advisor Augustine Lokwang said the fete provides an opportunity to advance peace in the region.
“The event has so far enabled us to address challenges of insecurity by toning down conflict across the borders.
We are actually leveraging on identity because we have more similarities as a people than our differences,” Lokwang said.
By Peter Gitonga