This morning, the director of the Kenya Cultural Centre (KCC) that incorporates the Kenya National Theatre (KNT) Mr Odero Aghan accompanied the new Sports, Culture and Arts Secretary Dr. Hassan Wario and the PS Madam Leah Gwiyo to see the Nairobi County governor Dr. Evans Kidero over an impending threat to auction the place.
The three went to try and save the national arts monument from being auctioned after this national institution was placed on the auctioneer’s list for failing to pay the land rates totaling upto KES 412, 000, 000 . After extensive discussion it was agreed that Nairobi City County rescinds its order and removes KCC/KNT from Auctioneer’s list.
Kidero acknowledged that the KCC/KNT as a national monument and “Creative Soul and Identity of Kenyan Nationhood.” He sees it as a blessing for Nairobi County to host the Cultural Centre that is poised to take lead in the Creative Industry and Cultural Tourism—two possible net earners for the County in the immediate future.
Meanwhile, Dr. Wario is sorting out the waiver and exemption of the national monument from any previous and future land rate caveats as he embarks on creating a Centre of cultural excellence and international repute there.
However, it must be noted that it is indeed a shame that a national centre like this could be exposed to imminent danger like this. In a way, it is an indicator of the kind of neglect the culture and arts sector has suffered in the country.
It took close to 40-years after attaining independence for the country to develop a cultural policy and even after it was launched in 2009, little has been done to implement it and after the Constitution of Kenya 2010 recognised culture in the entire document and specifically Article 11, little has been done to re-align the policy to the new constitutional dispensation.
While the Nairobi county Governor and Cabinet Secretary’s action is laudable, we must make sure we never get back to this. After all even the Constitution “recognises culture as the foundation of the nation and as the cumulative civilization of the Kenya people and nation. (Art 11 (1)).”