County to host World War 1 commemoration event

World War I African memorials

Mombasa World War I African memorials in Mombasa.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Preparations for commemorations of the end of World War I are in top gear in Taita Taveta as over 30 countries have confirmed they will participate.

Taita Taveta will host the historic event from Thursday to Sunday this week to mark the 104th anniversary of the end of WWI in 1918. The county was the epicentre of the war in the region when British and German soldiers clashed.

German forces ruled Tanganyika (now Tanzania), while British forces controlled Kenya, Uganda and Somaliland.

Governor Andrew Mwadime said diplomats from countries that took part in the great war, including the United Kingdom, Belgium, Canada and Australia, have confirmed they will attend the four-day event.

The event will kick off with cultural exhibitions by residents in Voi on Thursday.

"This will market our county for tourism purposes. It will also make our residents feel part of the celebrations," he said.

Addressing journalists in Mwatate, Governor Mwadime said the high-level delegation will visit areas where the war took place, including Kariokor (Voi), Mwaktau (Mwatate) and Salaita (Taveta).

Tour the battlefield

They will also lay wreaths on the Commonwealth war graves of WWI soldiers in Voi, Mwaktau and Taveta.

"They will tour the battlefield sites and the WW1 museum, which is under construction in Mwaktau," he said.

Construction of the World War One Memorial Museum, Education, Leadership and Innovation Institute has kicked off and is expected to be completed in March next year to preserve WWI artefacts and memories.

Besides the celebrations, the county government is leveraging the event to seek development partnerships to benefit the residents.

The county will host an investment forum on Friday that seeks partnerships with various governments and organisations represented in the event.

Governor Mwadime said they are in talks with several stakeholders to implement projects in Mwaktau and Kasigau where residents were greatly affected by the war.

"The delegation will also tour the Njoro Kubwa Springs and Mwaktau village. We are luring them to mainly invest in water and health matters," he said.

The county government plans to make the commemorations an annual event to attract tourists and open up the area to investors.

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