Kenya National Theatre to get a 100M facelift from East African Breweries Limited

 

Kenya National Theatre located on Harry Thuku Road

Kenya National Theatre located on Harry Thuku Road

Earlier today, the Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta was at a Public private Sector partnership launch between the The Kenya Cultural Center which is under the Ministry of Culture & Sports  for the refurbishment of the Kenya National Theatre (KNT)  by  East African Breweries Limited (EABL) at an estimated cost of  Ksh. 100M.

This is part of the Kenya @ 50 projects which will seek to refurbish legacy projects such as the Kenyatta Hospital Paediatric ward, Kasarani Stadium and the KNT  among other buildings. This is in line with Kenya’s celebration of 50 years since independence and is a build up of events culminating to the festival celebrations set to take place from 12th December for 3 days.

This is coming barely days after the Moi Kasarani Stadium was renamed to Safaricom Kasarani Stadium in a similar move by Safaricom Ltd to give the stadium a facelift

The iconic KICC building  management was recently embroiled in a court battle following the branding deal with  an outdoor advertising company for the  Samsung logo last month with Ad company retaining the rights to have the branding remain in place.

KOT (Kenyans On Twitter) have had serious debates over the moral right to have iconic buildings renamed or re-branded by corporate companies. Many argued that KICC was not a national monument thus had an obligation to make revenue which is its number one mandate as a Conference Center. The same thing went for the Kasarani Stadium which was in dire need of refurbishment after years of neglect and shoddy work.

However, in just a few minutes of the tweets regarding EABL and KNT deal many are already feel that this is going too far. Not to mention the fact that EABL is an alcoholic beverages company.

Kenya National Theatre is where all Kenyan actors have cut their teeth in acting. It is also the main venue for secondary school students to watch the set book plays for any given year with students travelling from various schools in Kenya to watch seasoned Kenyan Actors enact novels such as ‘The river between’ ‘An enemy of the People’ as well ‘Betrayal in the City’ which is the current set book.

I spoke to  Aghan Odero the Kenya Cultural Center Director on this matter and he sought to clarify that the details of the partnership have not been prepared thus it would be too early to conclude that the Theatre would be renamed or have beer brand advertisements as part of the refurbishment. He said that the PPP(Private Public Partnership) documents would be ready by Mid February 2014. It is also not clear whether EABL will do this from its CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) arm as philanthropy or if they will seek recognition and/or visibility for committing such an amount which might be more than the estimated 100M ( an actual full survey is yet to be done to determine the full cost)

On enquiring if there will be any deal breakers from the government or the Ministry regarding the PPP,  Aghan  informed that proposals would be considered as the partnership is being carried out from the Ministry level.

I only hope that this will be a philanthropic gesture from EABL that will give the Theatre a reconstruction that it desperately requires. Its a real shame when Kenyan plays have to be watched at Alliance Francais auditorium (no offence to AF) yet we have space for it.

The only question is, what will EABL ask for from this PPP. From what I have come to learn, the devil is always in the details.

About Kenyan Poet

Showcasing the best in the Kenyan Visual and Performance Arts. Run by Njeri Wangari a Published performance Poet, Blogger and Tech Enthusiast.