A rift between Lamu Cultural Promotion Group and the county government is likely to undermine this year’s Lamu cultural festival
The Cultural Promotion Group has distanced itself from the organizing the 19th Edition of the Lamu Cultural Festivals this year casting doubt over the success of the annual event.
This comes in the wake of last week’s announcement by the Lamu County government through a press statement that the festivities this year will be held from December 12 to 15 as opposed to the event’s annual November calendar schedule.
The Lamu Cultural Festival Promotional Group Chairman, Ghalib Alwy who spoke to KNA intimated that the LCFPG would not be party to this year’s festivities whose organization may be mired in corruption and disorganization.
The event that usually draws sponsors from both the public and private sector with foreign missions such as India, Belgium, Spain and Britain being key sponsors is likely to raise eyebrows following issues raised by the festival’s organizing committee that consists of hoteliers and holidaymakers in Lamu.
“The Lamu County government has taken it upon itself to disorganise the planning of the cultural festival this year because a few well-connected individuals have an interest in scamming from the annual event,” Alwy popularly known as Bush stated.
He questioned the manner in which the county government have left it too late for proper planning, adding that the decision to push the event to December 12-15 this year was not done consultatively.
The annual cultural festival which normally draws an estimated 100, 000 domestic and international tourists is by far the crowning jewel in the county’s tourism sector, which has steadily been growing in successive years despite past travel bans by Western nations such as Britain and France.
“We have an event where the main stakeholders have been sidelined entirely, and the county government expects to rope us in at the last minute, a telling sign that some individuals want to fleece from the Lamu Cultural Festival kitty,” he added.
The County officials who spoke to KNA separately however, intimated that the rescheduling of the cultural festival was done so as not to coincide with this year’s Maulidi Celebrations being held in November this year.
“The county was forced to reschedule the Lamu Cultural Festival this year so as to prevent the watering down of either festivities, and ensure that Lamu’s tourism sector gets maximum returns from Maulidi and Lamu Cultural Festival,” CEC in charge of Education and Culture, Paul Kamau Thairu said.
Sentiments echoed by Mkomani Ward MCA, Yahya Ahmed “Basode” who said that there was no need to raise alarm as the new dates would ensure the success of both events.
Basode who is also in the Lamu Cultural Festival County organizing committee refuted corruption claims terming the accusations being made by the Lamu Cultural Promotion Group as false.
The Lands CEC, Fahima Araphat who is also the acting Tourism CEC stated that the county government would ensure the success of the cultural festival this year.
The County officials interviewed by KNA divulged that the county government was committed to providing Sh1 million towards the Lamu Cultural Festival which tourism stakeholders say is a far cry from the amount needed to host a successful event.
By Amenya Ochieng