What you need to know:
- Mudavadi senior served as a minister under President Daniel arap Moi.
- He was largely responsible for delivering the Luhya community’s support to the Moi regime.
A two-and-a-half-acre piece of land in Mbale town that is fast turning bushy and an incomplete concrete wall are the only signs of the proposed Sh340 million Moses Budamba Mudavadi Cultural, Sports and Business centre.
The pledge was made by the Vihiga County government during the 25th memorial ceremony of the former powerful Kanu minister who is still revered as the cultural icon in the county.
Mudavadi senior served as a minister under President Daniel arap Moi. He worked his way up through the ranks of the civil service during the colonial era, starting his career as a teacher and ending up in charge of education in western Kenya. He was largely responsible for delivering the Luhya community’s support to the Moi regime.
The long wait for the construction of the cultural centre is now making residents jittery. It would have a 3,000-seat capacity theatre, a sports ground and a social hall. It would host cultural activities of the county’s sub-tribes; the Maragoli, Tiriki, Banyore and Terik.
Mudavadi’s family transferred the land to the then-Mbale Municipal Council in 2010, later inherited by the county government in 2013.
Former Governor Moses Akaranga’s administration failed to honour the pledge to start construction works. When he took over the reins in 2017, Governor Wilber Ottichilo assured locals his administration would revive the project. But three years later, nothing has happened.
Now elders from the populous Maragoli community are stepping up the push for the construction of the centre through the Vihiga Cultural Society that organises the annual Maragoli Cultural Festival.
Vihiga County Council of Elders chairman, Rev Simon Muhindi, called on the county government to prioritise the project.
“The centre is meant to preserve our culture. Despite budgetary allocation, the project has stalled. Our continued push for it has been in vain,” he said.
Former chairman of the Vihiga Cultural Society, Benard Chahilu, urged local leaders to treat cultural matters seriously.
“We pushed for change of land ownership to the municipal council so that resources can be marshalled for the construction of the centre,” he said.
The project was expected to attract conferences, sportsmen and boost tourism in Western Kenya. In the 2019/20 financial year, the county assembly approved Sh15 million to start construction works after amending the executive’s plan to begin with Sh5 million.
The report by the Budget and Appropriation Committee indicated that Sh10 million meant for the construction of a talent centre had been scrapped.