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Culture key to national unity, says Nyong’o

Kenya’s diverse cultural heritage can be used to strengthen national cohesion, Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o has said.

Speaking during the second day of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural (Unesco) cultural celebrations in Kisumu yesterday, Nyong’o said the initiative gives meaning to the constitutional frameworks for national cohesion.

“This platform will enable us to celebrate our diverse cultures that make us unique as a country,” said Nyong’o during the celebrations at Jomo Kenyatta Sports grounds.

Among dignitaries who graced the occasion were Education Cabinet secretary Amina Muhamed and Heritage Principal secretary Josephta Mukobe.

Those who attended the celebrations  had the opportunity to view the remains of Omieri, the legendary python which died more than 30 years ago.

Omieri was associated with beliefs of good fortune, including abundant rains, among members of the Luo community.

After its death in 1987, the remains were preserved by the National Museums of Kenya. The remains are being exhibited at several counties in Nyanza region during the cultural week.

Guests at the festival will also be treated to the Fish Fiesta, Benga Luo Night, Cultural performances from various communities, a fashion show, fireworks, public talks, excursions among other activities.

Yesterday, Kochia traditional dance from Rongo and Akamba dance group from Eastern Kenya were among the troupes that entertained participants.

Third celebrations

Saying Kisumu county boasts a rich cultural heritage and diversity, Nyong’o lauded the Kenya National Commission for Unesco and the National Museums of Kenya for holding this year’s edition in the lakeside city.

Kisumu, he said, was proud to be the third county to host the festival after Nairobi in 2014 and Machakos county in 2016.

He said the theme for this year’s celebrations, Enhancing National Cohesion, Identity and Pride, was appropriate for the country’s current aspirations.

“The theme is aligned to our collective agenda for the re-birth of nationalism for shared prosperity in Kenya. Indeed, this festival could not have come at a better moment for us as a country. Kenya has in the recent past gone through inter-community tensions,  precipitated by and linked to political competition,” he said.

Mohamed, who represented President Uhuru Kenyatta, said these celebrations promote the unlocking of the ingenuity and creativity required to achieve Vision 2030 and the Big Four Agenda.

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