Celebrations: Scramble for park stalls as Mashujaa Day nears

Thursday, August 1st, 2019 00:00 |
Tourism CS Najib Balala inspects Mama Ngina Waterfront project works in Mombasa last weekend. Photo/BONIFACE MSANGI

Tourism Cabinet secretary Najib Balala says only registered individuals will be allocated space for business once rehabilitation works at Mama Ngina Drive in Mombasa are finalised. 

This year’s Mashujaa Day national celebrations on October 20 will be held at the new park which  Balala said  would be a ‘classical ceremonial event, which will raise Mombasa’s image’. A team from both the national and the county government will be formed to make arrangements for the fete.  

The contractor, Suhufi Agencies Limited, will hand over the park to the government later this month before the State preparations for the national fete.

The government initiated the Sh460 milion Mombasa Waterfront Project last year, previously known as Mama Ngina Drive, as a key flagship project to boost tourism.  “This is a true transformation gift that we have been given by President Uhuru Kenyatta,” said Balala.

Speaking when he made an inspection tour of the facility last weekend, the CS said there is confusion on allocation of space for businesses in the park. He cautioned rogue traders plotting to sneak their names on to the list of registered traders to keep off. “Only recognised traders who were originally at the Mama Ngina Drive will be given space inside the park,” he said.  

The CS  expressed optimism the project will be a game-changer in the tourism sector and will raise the profile of Mombasa as a tourism hub.  “I appeal to Mombasa people to protect, safeguard and maintain the cleanliness of the park once completed,” he said. 

Construction of kiosks will be completed by  end of the month, adding that half the park is already lit with LED lights. The other half will be lit in a fortnight. “This is not a national or county government project: It is the people’s project,” said Balala. 

Suhufi Agencies’ director Mumo Mutava said  most of public walking spaces are complete. “The amphitheatre is ready save for some parts we are working on to improve the facilities for the presidential function on October 20,” said Mutava.

The project will transform the waterfront  into an attractive, safe and fully pedestrianised area with high quality public open space. It will also Conserve and emphasise Swahili and Coastal culture and heritage structures of significance in the re-design of the area.

The project entails the development of a public square, two iconic gateways, a Swahili cultural centre, a pigeon coops, a paved pathway a space for restaurants, a visitor parking area, modern selling points (kiosks), amphitheatre, landscaping gardens or lawns and parking areas.  

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