Since 1902

Kilifi leaders welcome China's plan to build museum, industrial park to honour sailor

By Patrick Beja - Jan 28th 2022


Kenyan high commissioner to Tanzania Dan Kazungu (left), flanked by Kenya Ports Authority Corporate Services Manager Edward Kamau address the media at the port of Mombasa on Saturday, 23 September, 2017.[Maarufu Mohamed, Standard]

Kilifi leaders have welcomed plans by the Chinese government to build a museum and industrial park at Mambrui near Malindi town in honour of one of its greatest pioneer sailors, Zheng He, who landed in the seaside village more than 600 years ago.

With the planned project, the sleepy historical Mambrui village is set to be put in the world map after archaeological excavations by Kenyan and Chinese experts in 2012 established that there was thriving trade between Kenya and China in the 15th century.

The museum and industrial park are expected to spur economic growth, enhance culture, tourism and strengthen ties between Kenya and China.

Kenyan high commissioner to Tanzania and former Malindi MP Mr Dan Kazungu said the Chinese Chamber of Commerce was planning to build the museum and industrial park as proof of the ancient trade between the two countries.

During a tour of Mambrui village on Wednesday, Mr Kazungu who is former Mining  Cabinet Secretary said the Chinese Chamber of Commerce would sent a delegation to the site before building the museum and the industrial Park to honour Zheng who is credited as the first man to establish a sea route to Indian and Pacific oceans that made trade to thrive.

He is believed to have made major trips to the Indian world from 1405 to 1433 and hence opening up trade between China and the rest of the world.

Kazungu said China was set to make Mambrui and Kilifi County part of its tourism circuit to celebrate its centuries-old heritage in the region.

“I have been talking to some friends from China Chamber of Commerce who are planning to come and see for themselves the route that the great sailor Zheng took from China to dock here in Malindi during those early days of trade and exploration,” Kazungu said.

He said it was interesting that the Chinese wanted to explore the area and see the route their forefathers used when they were exploring and trading with that part of the world.

Kazungu noted the museum will promote tourism, culture and the Kenya-China ties that have served the two countries well over the decades.

He said the industrial park will spur economic activity in Malindi and other parts of the county.

“We are rediscovering our heritage and we are encouraging our Chinese friends and tourists to come to Malindi and see for themselves the connection between China and Africa,” he said.

Kazungu was accompanied by his personal assistant Mr Emmanuel Nzai and Mr  Idriss Maalim, personal assistant  to Magarini MP Mr Michael Kingi among other local community leaders.

Maalim said they were happy that the Chinese have plans to build a museum and industrial park saying it would spur economic growth and promote tourism in an area where many youth are unemployed.

“We are happy that the ocean has enabled Magarini and Kilifi county people get rich history that dates back to centuries ago and attract friends from China who share the same history and heritage with us,” he said.

He said there were also Persians who have their descendants in Kilifi county, Arabs who have roots in Malindi and who often visit the area from Qatar and Oman.

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