President to grace the Maa cultural festival in Narok

Maasai men barbecuing during the Maa cultural festival in Narok. [Courtesy]

Governors from Maa community have renewed their quest to petition President William Ruto to return Amboseli National Park to the Kajiado County government from Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

Governors Patrick Ole Ntutu (Narok), Joseph Ole Lenku (Kajiado), and Jonathan Leleliit (Samburu) vowed to follow it jointly so that Kajiado can also benefit from proceeds of the tourism sector through revenue from the national park.

They made the remarks during the first day of the first-ever Maa cultural week at Sekanani in the world-famous Maasai Mara Game Reserve in Narok County.

President William Ruto will grace the occasion today. They said they will pitch the issue during a tour guided by Ruto, where he will witness the annual wildebeest migration as a way of welcoming international visitors to visit Kenya and witness the beautiful sceneries and diverse cultures.

The President's visit will also provide an opportunity for private and public partnerships to promote cultural entrepreneurship. The four-day event has brought together Maa communities from Narok, Kajiado, Laikipia, Marsabit, Baringo, and Samburu.

Leleliit said it was a big mistake for leaders of the defunct Kajiado County Council to let the park be managed by KWS.

"This is one of the historical injustices that was committed to the Maa community and we will appeal directly to the Head of State to have the park back to our people," he said.

He said after the wildlife as the top tourist attraction, the second attraction is the Maa culture. "Our culture has brought thousands of international and domestic tourists to our region to witness it, so we must protect it and wildlife territories,” he said

Leleliit announced that the second edition of the Maa cultural week will be staged at Samburu National Park next year. Ntutu said the cultural week promotes the unity of the community. "We will also use the occasion to educate the community on the do, and don’t do as well as deliberate the community position nationally," added Lenku.