Turkana culture gala to become global event

President William Ruto during the Turkana Cultural Festival (Tobong’ulore) in Lodwar town. [PCS]

President William Ruto has said Turkana’s cultural festival, known as Tobong’ulore, will become an international event.

The President, who officially inaugurated the cultural celebration on Thursday, took the opportunity to unveil his administration’s agenda for Turkana.

Ruto said starting next year, the Turkana cultural festival will be elevated to a global event with the aim of attracting tourists interested in tracing the history of mankind.

“This is not just a Turkana celebration. It is not solely a national celebration. It is a global celebration of humanity,” the president conveyed to the locals and leaders in attendance at the cultural festival.

He further explained that the elevation of Turkana’s archaeological sites to global tourist destinations would draw science enthusiasts from around the world to Turkana.

Dr Ruto affirmed that the government would collaborate with Turkana county administration to leverage archaeology and the nation’s diverse cultures to position Turkana as a leading tourist destination.

“We extend a warm welcome to global citizens to visit Turkana County, known as the cradle of humanity. The proposed science park, championed by the late Richard Leakey, will be a top priority and will be developed to attract tourists interested in learning about the evolution of human beings.

“We aim to encourage all visitors to Kenya, thus increasing the number of tourists and generating employment,” he said. The head of state said he met with Turkana leaders, including MCAs, MPs, and the governor, and they collectively made decisions on how to address the challenges facing the vast county.

President Ruto outlined several benefits that Turkana is poised to receive in the coming year. These include the connection of Turkana to the national power grid. Currently, most parts of Turkana, including Lodwar (the county’s administrative centre and commercial hub), rely on diesel-generated power.

President Ruto said an investment of Sh800 million has been allocated for integrating Turkana into the national grid, and he anticipated the project’s completion within 15 months.

“The power connectivity will be extended from Lokichar to Lodwar and to Lake Turkana,” he said.

He also warned bandits causing disturbances across various areas in Turkana, acknowledging that banditry had taken a toll on many regions in the North Rift.

To bring services closer to areas hit by banditry, Ruto said three new sub-counties of Suguta, Arow, and Lokiriama will be operational in 90 days.