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Return of the Marsabit Cultural Festival excites residents

Communities of Marsabit County are setting up their homestead/huts during the second day of the 12th edition of the Loyangalani cultural festival. | PHOTO-Marsabit County Government Press Service

By Eastern Newspaper Correspondent

Marsabit residents are excited after the county government announced plans to re-introduce Cultural diversity festivals starting November 2023.

The Marsabit CECM culture, Gender, and social services Jeremy Ledaany said there is a need for reviving the Marsabit Lake Turkana cultural festival, which is due in November.

The county government is also planning to host the Marsabit Loiyangalani cultural festival in November this year as well in a bid to revive the local tourism sector. Their revival is a great relief to residents after its 4-year disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic coupled with the just-ended devastating drought that claimed 80 percent of all livestock species across the county.

Marsabit County Government will partner with National Government to develop and market the region as a must-visit destination while attracting further private investors.

Ledaany, who led a delegation of county officials in meeting Tourism, Wildlife, Culture, and National Heritage CS Peninah Malonza, requested support from the National Government in the execution of the festivity.

Loiyangalani cultural festival has been the hallmark of the county’s tourism calendar since 2014, with thousands of domestic and international guests swarming the region for an experience of its unique culture.

“The festival was a boom for the local economy, benefiting traders and other business people. The celebrations are the best platform to brand, package, and market both Marsabit and Kenya, by extension, globally. Cultural tourism is a growing segment because the diverse communities have history, heritage, and culture,” Ledaany said

Ledaany informed the cabinet secretary that reviving such a festival is going to be key to economic recovery, and Leddany said the celebrations bring people together, forgetting their animosity by cementing the peaceful coexistence of the locals. He said there is a need to bring together all the ethnic communities in the county to showcase their rich and diverse cultures and interact with each other to minimize disharmony and conflicts.

CS Malonza assured residents that the festival is going to be a key focus in developing strategies for the tourism sector. She instructed the national director for culture to form a joint committee comprising officials from the National Department of Culture, the Marsabit county government and the tourism board to steer the planning and execution of the cultural festival.

“There are aspects of tourism in Marsabit county that have not been marketed previously, and therefore, there is an urgent need for the Marsabit county government to partner with the National Government to make the county a tourism destination of choice, particularly on cultural tourism,” she said

Tourism CAS Rehema Dida Jaldesa said Marsabit County has a rich culture, wildlife, and other magical places that, once exploited, will help to unlock the entire northern Kenya region for investors.

Jaldesa thanked the CS for agreeing to work with the county government in reviving the Loyangalani festival.

County governments are now at liberty to identify tourism products/sites that will be packaged as natural attractions by the Kenya Tourist Board.

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