June 16, 2024

Rename Malindi International Airport After Mekatilili, Kaya Elders Want

Kilifi County Governor Gideon Maitha Mung'aro during the Mekatilili Wa Menza Annual Cultural Festival Day at Karisa Maitha ground Kilifi. (Photo By Mwakwaya Raymond)

By Mwakwaya Raymond

Email, thecoastnewspaper@gmail.com

Kaya Elders want the Malindi International Airport be renamed after one of their own _Midzichenda_ heroine who fought against the colonialists aggression.

The elders are suggesting the name of Mekatilili wa Mendza as the fitting honour for her contributions to the emancipation of the Midzichenda nine subtribes by renaming the International Airport after her.

Led by the Malindi District Cultural Association (MADICA) Secretary Joseph Karisa Mwarandu said the renaming of the airport would not only boost her heroinic history, but also honour the Mijikenda community at large. 

Speaking during Mekatilili Wa Menza Annual Cultural Festival Day at Karisa Maitha ground Kilifi County recently, Mwarandu said that gesture would also give the tourism sector a boon in the world’s travelling industry.

“It’s obvious that Mekatilili is a renowned person not just to the locals but to the World at large for her relentless efforts to liberate her people from the hands of colonialists. Anything pertaining to her will definitely attract attention across the world.”

“The government should take our suggestion seriously and heed our request in good faith.” He added

The elders got the support of Kilifi County Governor Gideon Mung’aro who said he would petition the members of County Assembly (MCAs) to institute laws that would assist in achieving that.

“Renaming of the airport has come at the right time and I will be liaising with all the MCAs to have this matter discussed and agreed upon as soon as possible.”

Kilifi County executive committee member for Gender Culture and Social Services Dr Dama Masha said there was need to retain culture and heritage as county’s investment on its traditional resources.

Already plans are underway to construct a monument that will house all the cultural artifacts so that ‘living history’ can be preserved for the future generations.

According to her the county has acquired land at a cost of Sh10 million where the project will be established as soon as possible for posterity.

The government of the United Kingdom, recently, returned 73 _vigangos_ (artefacts) after being ‘stolen or grabbed’ by unscrupulous people from different Mijikenda subtribes kayas.

“These vigango represent our forefathers and they have the power to trace their way back whenever they’re taken away,” said the chief officer for Gender Culture and Social Services Agnetta Karembo.

According to Karembo 20 more _vigangos_ will be soon repatriated to Kilifi once the monument is ready. 

Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) has set aside some funds to fence all Kaya forests in the Coast region so as to stop any attempts of encroachment by land grabbers.

Gov Mung’aro said that Kayafungo would be the first to be fenced once the project begins. 

However, the Kilifi chief said he had stopped any further exporting of baobab trees abroad saying it was against the will of his people.

The recent transportation of such trees for export under unclear circumstances sparked an outrage within and without the county as pictures of baobab on wide-load vehicles hit media print and electronic fronts.

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