Nakuru, Kenya Wednesday, February 27th, 2019 – The County Government of Nakuru through its cultural section which is under the auspices of the Department of Gender, Culture and Social Services has today signed an MOU with the National Museums of Kenya (NMK).
This agreement, signed by the Nakuru County Secretary Benjamin Njoroge and NMK Director General Mzalendo Kibunjia, permits the County Government as well as the community to use Hyrax Hill, a national archeological site to set-up a museum or cultural centre for the advancement of the creative economy in the county.
Speaking during the occasion of signing the MOU which was held at the Hyrax Hill earlier today, Nakuru County Secretary said the agreement between the two parties is an encouraging gesture that the county’s cultural section is moving in the right direction towards mobilizing and enhancing the county’s diverse and splendid cultural heritage for community’s empowerment.
‘What we are witnessing here today is the start of the exploitation of the opportunities we have in our rich cultural heritage, which if tapped could generate wealth for employment creation for all in our county. Therefore, we have to work continuously to ensure these efforts are sustained. The County Government of Nakuru promises to keep its end of the bargain’, said the County Secretary.
Dr. Peter Ketyenya, the acting CECM, Department of Youth, Gender, Culture, Sports and Social Services said the pact between the County Government of Nakuru and the National Museums of Kenya has not only opened a leeway for the County Government to make Hyrax Hill a must stop-over for visitors in the county, but also establishes a platform for sensitizing people of the riches they have in their culture.
Tume Abduba, the Chief Officer for Gender, Culture and Social Services and under whom the County’s Cultural docket falls, said today’s occurrence is an additional feather to the docket.
‘Through the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO (KNATCOM), UNESCO is using Nakuru as the county to benchmark with on cultural activities. In January this year (2019), Ipsos Synovate Kenya ranked Nakuru, the fifth county in terms of vibrancy in cultural activities. Thus, the signing of this MOU, is yet another achievement’, said Tume.
She added, ‘through engaging with the local community, this MOU is geared towards conservation, development and restoration of heritage sites in Nakuru County; build up and nurture research and documentation of the sites as well as facilitate knowledge transfer between parties and members of community through education, training and staff exchange’.
On their part, officials of the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) lead by their Director General Dr. Mzalendo Kibunjia welcomed the initiative, saying that through the MOU, Nakuru County has joined commonwealth of counties that NMK is helping establish museums and cultural sites.
The Director General noted that NMK is 109 years old. Has a wealth of expertise which Nakuru County will be able to access through the MOU to help in surveying and mapping of heritage sites in the county. ‘Normally, when solicited for, these surveys are expensive, but now they are readily available thanks to the MOU’, said Dr. Kibunjia.
The agreement brings on board various sections of the creative economy structure in the county which include herbal medicine practitioners who are to benefit from a botanical garden that is to be established; conservationists, youth involved in various form of art through the creation of creative spaces such as art studios and exhibitions among others.
The NMK Director General in expressing his appreciation for the initiative assured of his support as well as that of the institution he leads. Asking officials of the County Government of Nakuru to consider an increment of budgetary allocation to the cultural section, which is the backbone of the creative industry.
He noted that Nigeria is a major producer of oil in Africa and globally, its creative industry contributes more to the national GDP than oil; in the process generating jobs for the youth, saying this is something that can be replicated nationally and in counties.
Mzalendo Kibunjia also urged the County Government to help NMK recover the already grabbed land for Hyrax Hill, which will celebrate its centenary next year. The County Government of Nakuru officials assured that this will be done speedily.
Other officials of the County Government of Nakuru present during this MOU signing function included: Director for Culture and Gender, Alice Gekonde; Deputy Sub-County Administrator for Nakuru Town East, Edward Kingori; MCAs for Menengai, Kivumbini and Flamingo: Wilson Mwangi (host), Wilbur Onyango and Eddy Kiragu, the Chair for the County Assembly of Nakuru Committee on Youth Affairs, Sports, Gender and Culture respectively.
From NMK they were, Director Antiquities Sites and Monuments, Dr. Purity Kiura; Keeper Central Region NMK, David Mbuthia; as well as, Curator Hyrax Hill, Lillian Amwanda among other staff.