Locals up in arms over abandoned State lodge

Thursday January 3 2019

Turkwel State Lodge

The abandoned Turkwel State Lodge in West Pokot County. FILE Photo | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

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Residents in West Pokot County are up in arms over the abandoned State lodge at Riting village in Turkwel.

The State Lodge which has been abandoned for over 28 years is in a deplorable condition.

The residents are now demanding for refurbishment of the old prominent building.

Residents who spoke to the Nation said no one uses the facility which was put up using millions of taxpayers money.

The lodge, situated 120 kilometres from Kapenguria town, twice hosted retired President Daniel arap Moi in the 1990s.

In 2006, former Vice President Moody Awori also stayed at the lodge when he was the guest of honour during athlete Tegla Lorupe’s Peace Marathon at Turkwel Gorge.

The facility, constructed in mid 1980s by Kerio Valley Development Authority is located next to Turkwel Dam , lost its glory almost three decades ago.

The building which is adjacent to the huge mass of water — Turkwel Dam has turned to be a campaign tool for politicians every election year.

The State Lodge, a once tightly guarded mansion with mean-looking, heavily armed officers from the General Service Unit (GSU) Recce Squad, is a pale shadow of what it used to be. The once well-manicured lawns have overgrown shrubs with dilapidated buildings.

Retired President Mwai Kibaki never visited the lodge during his 10-year reign while President Uhuru Kenyatta is yet to.

All that remains are memories of the good old days when the lodge teemed with high-profile visitors, even from other parts of the country.

The county government under the leadership of former Governor Simon Kachapin visited the facility in 2016, promised to revive it but nothing was done.

Also a few days after Governor John Lonyangapuo was sworn in, he said his administration would revive the facility to be a VIP lodge that can also attract tourists.

He said the facility will be renovated for seminars and conferences. It was expected to be in good shape by December but to date still no sighs of rehabilitation.