Kisii University International Conference on Heritage and Sustainable Development has blamed county governments for destruction of traditional monuments which threatens social and national development.
Speaking to journalists after the conference at the institution in Kisii town, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC) for Administration and Finance Prof. Joseph Mailutha said that financial constraints have slowed down the efforts of universities to conduct research on heritage.
“The government has not allocated us as much as required and it is the only challenge but I cannot say that there is a research gap,” the DVC said.
The Dean of School of Arts and Social Sciences in the institution Dr. Margaret Barasa said that many tourism sites in Western Kenya which could suffice as heritage places are conserved.
“Look at Kit Mikai. In fact as we speak now, it has dried. If you go there you cannot see the tears because the forest has been depleted,” she explained.
Dr. Barasa called upon the government and other stakeholders to protect and safeguard Kenya’s heritage because its destruction is costly.
A lecturer at the university Prof. Samuel Kiriama urged county governments to allocate funds in their budgets to conserve the heritage.
“Usually, people think that heritage does not contribute to national development which is one of the reasons we want to show the importance of the heritage aspect. At the moment, the funding is quite minimal but it can be increased for heritage to play its role in national development,” Prof. Kiriama explained.
Prof. Kiriama also blamed little heritage conservation efforts for the destruction of Got Chak rock art at Tabaka area in South Mugirango Constituency and called for protection of ngoro ya mwaga rocks at Manga hills and Sameta in Nyamira and Kisii Counties, respectively.
“These areas can attract tourists who can pay money to the community to have sustainable lives. Other places such as old posho mills which used water for its functions have been destroyed but we need to protect the remaining ones,” he added.
The aim of the International Conference on Heritage and Sustainable Development was to sensitize policy-makers to set aside budget for heritage and it was attended by stakeholders from Europe, America, Australia, Nigeria, and other regions.