Promoting cultural cohesion and integration for socio-economic development remains the focus of the County Government of Marsabit, the Governor, Marsabit County, Ambassador Ukur Yatani, has said.

Speaking as he officially opened this year’s Kalacha Food and Cultural Festival over the weekend, Ambassador Yatani described the Marsabit County as the single, most diverse county in Kenya.

He said his government would continue to tap into this rich cultural diversity of its people both as an enduring avenue for socio-economic development and in enhancing peaceful co-existence among the fourteen ethnic communities of Marsabit County.

He welcomed cultural groups from the neighboring Isiolo County and Ethiopian Southern Province to Marsabit County.

“You are our brothers and sisters. You are our in-laws. You are our people. Welcome to Marsabit County. Feel free to mingle with us. Share your cultural experiences with us as we also share ours with you  in the next three days” the governor said.

He thanked the Kivulini Trust for organizing the cultural event and further challenged it to shift its headquarters from Nairobi to Kalacha where the annual event is held.

As a demonstration of his government’s keenness to promote this cultural event, Ambassador Yatani said the County Department of Tourism and Culture had this financial year alone injected 12.5 m into expanding the facility.

Pledging to continue supporting initiatives aimed at marketing the County as a cultural hub, the governor said his government is keen to revive the stalled tourist class Kalacha Banda’s lodge and open more camp sites and lodges in the region.

He cautioned against  using the cultural site facility only during the festival date.

“This food and Cultural event shouldn’t be a one-off event. We should expand this facility and make it a cultural resource center which is alive and active every day,” he said.

The governor condemned the recent Mandera Massacre and called upon residents to keep vigil against similar external threat without throwing caution to the wind.

He congratulated President Uhuru Kenyatta for finally having his case at the ICC withdrawn.

“That the charges against the president had finally been withdrawn at the ICC is a bold statement of the president’s innocence right from the outset. We are happy for our President,” he said.

Echoing similar sentiments, the area MP, Francis Chachu, said time was ripe for the County to move away from showcasing its rich cultural heritage for display & instead concentrate on marketing itself as a hub for cultural tourism.

“It’s time we now  contemplate the prospect of aggressively marketing our rich cultural heritage for tourism,” he advised.

The head of the cultural delegation from Ethiopia, Mr. Tadese Yohaness marveled the uncanny cultural similarities between the people of Marsabit County & the people of Ethiopian southern region & asked that those cultural similarities be exploited for mutual social-economic development.

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