Preparations for the annual Mekatilili wa Menza Mijikenda Cultural Festival have been thrown into disarray by inadequate funding.
The Kilifi County Government, which is the main sponsor of the annual event, has availed a paltry Sh.300, 000 out of the budgeted Sh.6.7 million for the three-day fete that begins on Friday.
Tabaka Katoi, an official of the Malindi District Cultural Association (MADCA), which is organizing the event, said lack of funds could hinder the effective preparations of the Mijikenda festival marked to honour the independence struggle heroine.
“We are worried that we may not do some things in our plan because of the lack of funds,” he said adding, “It will be difficult for us to revise the budget from Sh.6.7 million to Sh.300, 000.
Speaking to reporters in Malindi Town on Thursday, Katoi said all the items in the budget were important and it would be hard to alter anything.
“We do not know where we shall get the dais, the sound system, lights, the street parade and vehicles, which are necessary for the festival,” he said.
It was not immediately clear why the county government decided to avail less money than budgeted for as officials were not willing to address the issue with journalists.
This comes in the wake of an impasse between Madca and a section of Kaya elders in Malindi and the Magarini Cultural Association over where the climax of the festivals should be held.
While Madca insists the climax will be held at Shakahola in Chakama location where it is believed Mekatilili slapped a colonialist, the Magarini team says the fete must be held in Bungale where Mekatilili is believed to have been buried.
It is likely that the two groups will hold parallel festivals, thus threatening the unity of the Mijikenda on how to honour their heroes and heroines.
A programme drawn by Madca indicates that the festivities will start on Friday at the Alaskan Grounds in Malindi Town. It will then move to Vitengeni over the weekend and climax at Shakahola on Tuesday next week.
By Emmanuel Masha