Calls for renaming of Isiolo international airport escalate

Leaders in two counties are still divided over a push to rename Isiolo International Airport.

Meru Assembly Majority Leader Victor Kariithi, who one of those calling for the airport to be renamed Musa Mwariama in honour of the Mau Mau freedom fighter, said the county had a big stake in the airfield.

Mr Kariithi said the fact that 646.16 acres of the 809.5-acre airport was in Athwana ward is part of the reason the leaders supported the proposal to change the name.

“He (Musa Mwariama) was not fighting for freedom for Isiolo or Meru but for the whole country. Just as we have Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Musa Mwariama was a close ally of Jomo Kenyatta and deserves recognition,” he added.

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Kariithi said the name Isiolo created the impression the airport "belonged" to Isiolo.

“Jomo Kenyatta is an inclusive name because he fought for Kenyans' freedom, just like Mwariama. We do not want a name change just for the sake of it. I am happy some of our leaders have embraced the idea,” he said.

Kariithi also appealed for more involvement of Merus in business activities at the airport.

“We want a bigger stake at the airport in terms of employment opportunities for people from Meru and even business opportunities as the airport grows.”

But Hussein Mohamed, the chairman of the Isiolo Leaders Consortium, said local leaders would not support the calls for name change, arguing the airport was in Isiolo town.

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“We are against the proposal. The national government planned and designed the airport and named it Isiolo. We cannot just wake up and decide to change the name,” he said.

Mr Mohamed said the airport was part of the Vision 2030 projects, with a resort city also in the planning.

Isiolo International AirportMau Mau freedom fighterVision 2030