The Nation (Nairobi)

9 February 2008

Kenya: Fate of Eldoret Show Hangs in the Balance

Nairobi — The fate of the annual Eldoret agricultural show hangs in the balance this year following the occupation of its grounds by internally displaced people.

Agricultural Society of Kenya national chairman, Justice Stewart Madzayo said that the show that was to be held from March 5th would either be scrapped or postponed to a later date.

"It is difficult to hold the agricultural show with the grounds occupied by the internally displaced people. I will be travelling to Eldoret over the weekend to assess the situation and will give a comprehensive report next week," he said.

Speaking at Jamhuri Park grounds on Thursday after holding the Nairobi International Trade Fair annual general meeting, Mr Madzayo said veterinary officers would also assess the suitability of livestock being featured in the show, if it will be held.

"The show grounds are quarantine areas but some of the internally displaced people carried along their livestock into the grounds," Mr Madzayo said. Areas are declared quarantined to prevent spread of diseases.

He said the Eldoret ground was currently hosting 18,459 displaced people.

A number of grounds that host annual agricultural shows are currently being occupied by the displaced following the unrest that hit the country after a disputed presidential elections result.

Mr Madzayo said Jamhuri Park had 2,500 people, Nakuru national show ground 12,191 and Kitale national show ground holds another 2,096.

Graft at the gates

He said the Nairobi Trade Fair had improved its performance by 42 per cent last year although the perennial problem of corruption at the gates during the fair remained an issue with two officials having been convicted over sale of fake entry receipts.

He, however, added that some of the officials who were last year accused of corruption had been discharged by the courts. Former Nairobi International Trade Fair chairman Sam Gitonga and the chief executive Batram Muthoka had been accused of embezzlement of Sh1.7 million from the society's kitty. Mr Madzayo said the council members who had made the allegations were suspended.

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