Lamu hotel owners asked to monitor guests ahead of festival

Lamu County commissioner Gilbert Kityo addressing the media in his office PHOTO NATASHA NEMA

Lamu,KENYA:Owners of hotels and guest houses in Lamu Old Town have been directed to conduct thorough inspection of their clients booking accommodations during the Lamu Cultural Festival which kicks off on Thursday to avoid hosting criminals.

Lamu County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo said clients checking into hotels and guest houses during the cultural festival must be properly registered using their original IDs and passports and records kept for future reference.

Speaking in Lamu town on Wednesday,Kitiyo said any reports on suspicious clients or visitors should be immediately forwarded to the police for prompt action.

This year’s 17 edition of the annual Lamu Cultural festival kicks off on Thursday November 16 to 19.

Kitiyo asked hotel and guest house owners to keep track of their visitors who shall be using their premises for the entire four day period of the cultural festival in order to be able to pick out suspicious persons or activity on time.

He said the move will help contain security of visitors who shall be attending the fete and also ensure the situation remains the same even after the festival.

He said the festival will be attended by visitors from around the world and that there is need for everything to run smoothly.

“We are asking owners of hotels and guest houses to keep records of all clients who shall check into their premises for accommodation.They must produce original copies of their ID cards or passports.Anything less than that,notify the police immediately.Also notify us incase a particular client in your facility is acting in a not so normal manner,”said Kitiyo.

He said his office had made arrangements to ensure every corner of the county is well guarded before,during and after the festival.

The county commissioner has however asked drivers of both public passenger vehicles and private vehicles plying the Lamu-Garsen road to stick to the stipulated plan of moving in a motorcade guarded by armed police.

Lamu Cultural Festival Promotional Group secretary general Feiswal Miji said more than 20,000 visitors both local and international are expected to attend the fete.

The Lamu Cultural Festival is the largest event known worldwide that is held annually in the historical town which is also listed as a UNESCO World heritage site.

The festival presents a rare opportunity to see traditional dances,the famous donkey race, dhow races, Swimming competition, heena painting and cultural display of the Swahili people well known for the accomplishment of craftsmen and women, traditional skills including wood carving from the county in a single venue with the fast paced donkey race competition attracting hundreds of spectators.