The National Museums of Kenya (NMK) is in the middle of a storm after a tower was built “by unknown people” at one of its sites in Magadi, Kajiado County.
The 12ft marble pillar at Olorgesailie prehistoric site bears inscriptions in English and Chinese describing a new world order of “geoversal civilisation”.
According to a source, the NMK is mulling over pulling down the monument even before it has been officially unveiled, just months after it was erected.
However, no official wants to say when tower will be demolished.
The purpose of building the monument, how much was spent and who approved its construction is also not clear.
An inscription on the tower states that it was built “with the blessings of NMK”. Attempts to get answers from the NMK management had not succeeded by the time of going to press.
For three weeks, our reporter has been referred to at least five senior managers who all declined to comment.
The Nation team visited the prehistoric site three weeks ago. The tower was still wrapped in a polythene sheath.
A supervisor received the team cordially and was willing to share information about the site that is home to the world’s largest collection of hand axes used by the early man.
He suddenly grew suspicious and recoiled the moment the monument issue came up.
Taking photos of the monument is prohibited, with workers taking offence at any attempts to do so.
When we sought details about the tower, the official seemed not to have any information on its construction and what its relevance might be, only saying “some people came and built it”.
How a 12ft tower can be put up on government property without the knowledge of the management appears absurd. When pressed, the supervisor said it was built by some Chinese.
When the Nation made the first enquiry on September 25, NMK was hesitant to come clean about the project.
NMK senior researcher and head of antiquities, sites and monuments, Dr Purity Kiura — who we reliably learnt was directly involved in the construction of the controversial — declined to comment.
She asked this reporter to contact NMK Director-General Mzalendo Kibunjia, who was out of the country at the time. “Talk to Dr Kibunjia. He will respond,” Dr Kiura said.
Later, the Nation was referred to director of administration and human resource Stanvas Ongalo, who was standing in for Dr Kibunjia.
Mr Ongalo, too, didn’t respond, as he was said to be at the Ministry of Sports and Culture for an unspecified business.
But even after Dr Kibunjia’s return from abroad two weeks ago, NMK has remained non-committal, with workers saying he is away from the office.
His office however said the matter would be brought to his attention as soon as he returns. "As stated, it’s only the director-general who can respond to these queries,” NMK’s public relations and marketing officer Sharon Kyungu said, adding: “Try calling him as well.”
Dr Kibunjia did not answer calls and messages sent to his phone.
During the World Monument Day in April, NMK appealed for more government funding to preserve heritage sites.
So what is geoversal civilisation and who is pushing the agenda?
An online search shows that Dr Zhang Shaohua, a Chinese academic and philosopher, is the brains behind the project. It is called Organisation for Promoting Geoversal Civilisation.
Dr Zhang and scholars from the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, Australia and other parts of the world founded this organisation in Sydney in 1999.
The New York-based organisation describes itself as a non-profit, non-governmental international academic organisation that seeks to promote the spirit of one world.
“OPGC is committed to cultivating a geoversal civilisation for all people by integrating and elevating the essence of western, eastern and mid-eastern civilisations," the website says.
In July 2018, the fifth world congress of the geoversal civilisation was held at Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Nairobi. It attracted politicians, academics and religious leaders from 55 countries.
According to the inscription, it is during this conference that the decision to erect the monument was arrived at.
The organisation says the five world summits are intended to educate policymakers and the public about “a new vision of human governance in the global age to … achieve global unity and harmony that embraces understanding, tolerance, compassion, forgiveness and love”.
By why the tower was erected at the site, why some of the inscription is in Chinese and why no one wants to discuss the matter remain unanswered.