The Bomas of Kenya isn’t a strange venue for most Kenyans. In the recent times, its become synonymouse with all kinds of activities, especiallly political. Pulled away from the bustles of Nairobi’s central business district, the the landmark installation located in Langata has seen it all. So 22nd May 2022, immediate former president Uhuru Kenyatta’s wing of the Jubilee party could not get a nod from the Bomas of Kenya Management to hold their National Delegates Conference.
When the Independent Electoral and Boundaries of Kenya settled on the Bomas of Kenya as its National tallying centre for presidential elections, this venue attracted much more attention. Of course anyone who cares to check out news can pick out highly consequential meetings that have had this premises as a venue.
President Uhuru’s Jubilee wing applies to get Bomas of Kenya for its controversial NDC
Its no secret that former president Uhuru Kenyatta and his then deputy and now president William Ruto fell out. The two have traded barbs at each other signifying a not soon ending superirity battle. The question of who now counts as the big man was long settled on Tuesday, 9 August 2022. This was further affirmed through a declaration by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commision followed by a public swearing in of President William Samoei Ruto.
Many may have hoped that the retired president Uhuru Kenyatta would take a laid back approach, retreat to quietitude like those before him. But as things keep to unfold, the duo don’t seem to get over their differences. It wasn’t a surprise that the Bomas of Kenya gleefully turned away the Jubilee party from holding its National Delegates Convention within its premises.
Push and pull in the Jubilee party, with president Ruto’s administration
When the beleaguered Jubilee Party led by immediate former president Uhuru Kenyatta announced its National Delegates Conference, heads started to roll. The planned NDC came hot on the heels of perceived adverse overtures by the Kenya Kwanza administration to wreck the Jubilee Party. But then just three days to the planned meeting, the management of the Bomas of Kenya issued a regret notice that they won’t be able to host the NDC at their premises.
The Jubilee Party management quickly swung into action and changed the venue to Ngong racecourse. But, a few alarm bells rang. Yes, the Jubilee Party ended up holding a fairly successful meeting which passed a series of consequential resolutions . Among the resolutions, the party affirmied membership to Azimio and expelled rebels. Kanini Kega, EALA MP and Sabina Chege (Nominated MP) as expcted found themselves on the chopping board.
Brief facts about the Bomas of Kenya
- It started operations in 1971 by the Government of Kenya
- Its was a subsidiary of the Tourism Finance Corporation
- Its inception was to preserve, maintain and promote the Kenyan ethnic diversity
- It was to attract tourists to learn more about Kenya
- Owned and managed by the government of Kenya as a parastatal
Memory of recent happenings at the Bomas of Kenya
From the short history, it’s clear that the facility ought to be typical brand Kenya. Just like Maasai mara or the Kenya Airways, a stict look at the Bomas should show it as an emblem of the endearing Kenyan identity but not high octane politics.
But even as we appreciate the good intentions and place of the premises in the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage, Kenyans have a different image. The recent move to lock Jubilee out of its facilities further entrenched a different image of the Bomas of Kenya as being a highly political area. For sure, a lot of landmark political meetings have happened at the venue..
- Bomas of Kenya acting as the presidential vote tallying center
- The the Bomas draft constitution came out of a technical and political engagement at the Bomas of Kenya
- The BBI Taskforce report launched its report here
- Then Deputy president and now president William Ruto delivers a rubble rousing speech about BBI amidst cheers and jeers
- The facility hosted the 2022 presidential tallying center
- Tempers raged high as presidential results trickled in and verification process went on for the 2022 presidential elections
- Scuffles ensued at Bomas of Kenya as Azimio la Umoja presidential chief agent Saitabao Ole Kanchori claim mischief in the tally
- H.E William Ruto declared president amid clouds of doubt and uncertainty cast over his win by the Azimio team.
A final reflection
Looking back at recent history, the Bomas of Kenya has risen to the limelight more as a political venue than a cultural and heritage center. The recent clash about its use by the Jubilee party as an NDC venue tells a story. We can expect the premises to gain popularity more as a center of Kenya political heritage rather than cultural center.
What memories about the Bomas of Kenya stand out for you?.