Communities living in Tana River County have been urged to use cultural festivals to foster peaceful co-existence among themselves to spur development.
Speaking in Madogo, Bura Constituency during the Wailwana Cultural Festivals, Culture Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), Hassan Noor Hassan said the diverse cultures and traditions should be used as a uniting factor among the communities.
Hassan said Tana River County has had a dark past where communities fought over resources and divisive politics resulting in unnecessary loss of lives and properties worth millions.
The CAS challenged the area leadership to organize annual events where all the communities will be able to showcase their cultural prowess and learn to appreciate each other’s traditions and cultures.
“Culture is one of the strongest uniting factor for communities in tribal spots in Kenya. Cultural exchanges will give communities a chance to appreciate each other,” Hassan said.
He said communities should think of resorting to traditional foods which have been proved to have no effects to human health as compared to the processed ones adding that the latter has brought about lifestyle diseases such as cancer, blood pressure and diabetes.
Hassan who is a career administrator urged parents to monitor their children during this holiday season, noting that many young people have been brainwashed by western cultures due to the access to internet and other modern technology.
The Elgeyo Marakwet Women representative, Jane Chebaibai who accompanied the CAS said Tana River should borrow a leaf from central rift where leaders have been able to scale down cattle rustling by organizing similar events across the region.
Chebaibai said women play a key role in bringing people together through their groups and it was time to empower them so that they also organize events and cultural competitions across the county.
Her Tana River counterpart, Rehema Hassan asked the county government to set aside funds for communities to come together and showcase their traditions.
“We want Kenyan communities to not only appreciate each other’s culture but to understand their identity,” Rehema said.
The event showcased the Wailwana traditional mode of transport, canoe which was used to cross the River Tana, dances, food and huts among other traditional ways.
By Jacob Songok