Monday, July 5, 2010

Row hurts Kogelo cultural centre plan

A model of the proposed Kogelo Cultural Centre. PHOTO/ FILE

A model of the proposed Kogelo Cultural Centre. PHOTO/ FILE 

By ERIC OLOO

The government has suspended plans to build a multi-million-shilling cultural centre at the Kogelo ancestral home of US President Barack Obama over infighting among community members.

According to the Siaya district cultural officer, Mr Tom Masanga, the decision was reached after three members of the community were locked in a dispute over who should donate land to the government for the project.

Mr Masanga said nominated councillor Nicholas Rajula offered five acres, Mr Joshua Otieno four acres and a Kitale-based magistrate four acres.

This prompted the National Heritage and Culture ministry to constitute a technical committee to settle on suitable land for the project.

The team – which comprised the public works officer, a surveyor and roads engineer – settled for Mr Rajula’s five acres, citing its accessibility, room for expansion and its legality.

But some discontented community members went to the National Heritage and Culture permanent secretary, Prof Jacob ole Miaron, to protest against the decision.

“Mr Rajula’s piece of land was near the trading centre, with an easy access road compared to the others, while that of Mr Otieno was under dispute between two widows,” added Mr Masanga.

Contractor

Prof Miaron, in a letter dated June 18, copied to the provincial cultural director, directed the project be suspended as the government considered the controversial project site.

“I have already written a formal letter to the contractor who had already commenced work at the site,” said the district cultural officer.

Mr Masanga said that it was worrying that the Sh4 million which the government released for the project early this year was lying idle.

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