As Lamu curfew gets extended, can the annual Cultural Festival take place or not?


(Posted 23rd October 2014)

The stage appears set for a major legal showdown between the Law Society of Kenya, representing the people and businesses of Lamu town, and Kenya’s top cop David Kimaiyo after the curfew for Lamu has been extended by at least another month. From 6 pm to 6 am are residents, and notably tourists too, prohibited to leave their premises under harsh penalties and the risk of being shot on sight, a situation which has driven many restaurants and hotels to the brink of financial collapse, not something the hapless Inspector General of Police seems to comprehend.

The upcoming annual Lamu Cultural Festival is now almost certainly not taking place in the usual format, considering that everyone has to be indoors under the curfew rules, it at all organizers can find the financial support from sponsors and well-wishers and get significant numbers of visitors from along the coast and upcountry to visit Lamu town during the festival days.

The Law Society had told Kimaiyo on the 16th of October to either lift the curfew or else face being sued in court, and this is under the latest development now very likely with many Kenyans, and in particular the Lamu tourism fraternity hoping that the top cop will get a legal whipping in court.

It is understood that the Law Society may apply for an injunction to lift the curfew ahead of having the main case determined, citing irreparable damage to the businesses in Lamu town and developments in Kenya are closely monitored be several sources ready to update the news as soon as fresh information is available.

Lamu, as was repeatedly mentioned here, has not been subject to any attacks or incidents, which plagued the wider Lamu County, prompting a blanket curfew to be imposed when the police was unable to track down and bring to book the culprits under normal operating conditions.

Kimaiyo, one of Kenya’s most ridiculed top cops ever, has for long been under public pressure to resign or else for President Kenyatta to fire him over a series of security lapses and public gaffes in the past and his public relations, according to several sources spoken to in person during the recent Magical Kenya Travel Expo ‘suck big time’, a damning indictment of how he and his tenure are perceived in Kenya’s tourism circles.

Sources linked to the Lamu Cultural Festival have yet to come up with a definitive statement on the festivals’ future as the dates of 27th to 30th of November are now just a month away. Watch this space for news updates just as soon as additional information comes to light.

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