PRESS RELEASE BY THE KENYA CULTURAL CENTRE

Following the action by a group of artists and stakeholders to petition the Ministry of natural heritage and Culture over the state of affairs at The Kenya National Theatre/Kenya Cultural Centre, in a letter addressed to the PS in the Ministry, a copy which was published on this forum “DEGENERATION OF KENYAN CULTURAL HERITAGE AND ABUSE OF OFFICE”, the Governing Council of the Centre yesterday held a press conference and released the following statement.
 
MEDIA BRIEF STATEMENT ON UPDATE STATUS OF KENYA CULTURAL CENTRE
Delivered on behalf of the Kenya Cultural Centre’s Governing Council  By Chair Dr. Mshai Mwangola
August 07, 2012 , Ukumbi Mdogo, Kenya Cultural Centre, Harry Thuku Road, NAIROBI.

The Kenya Cultural Centre (KCC) is a public institution at the service of the people and the Government of Kenya. Recognising this, the Governing Council welcomes and encourages continued dialogue with all Kenyans.

The members of the current governing council were re-appointed to office on 19th April 2012. This was a renewal of the mandate first given to the members in March 2009, and as such, those serving on the council in their private capacities are now embarking on a second and final 3 years’ tenure. In the first term of service, the energies of this Governing Council were mostly directed towards sifting through the legal and bureaucratic anomalies of the past in order to restructure the Kenya Cultural Centre/ Kenya National Theatre (KCC/ KNT) into a viable and self-sustaining institution in line with the 2010 Kenyan Constitution and Vision 2030.

To give some examples:
– The Governing Council has had a constructive engagement with other organs and institutions of the state, particularly those within our own Ministry. The Ministry of National Heritage and Culture, through the appropriate organs, had taken up some of the legal and administrative issues that have plagued the Kenya Cultural Centre in the past, with a view to sorting out long-standing labour, land rates and other similar issues. The Centre has also embarked on joint initiatives with sister-institutions such as the Kenya National Archives and the National Museums of Kenya.
– We have begun the formal process of regularization of the institution as a State Corporation. We now have a representative of the Ministry of Finance serving on the Governing Council and have participated in engagements with that Ministry, such as the Public Hearing Sessions for budgetary allocations.
– We initiated a series of conversations amongst cultural workers on the Harmonised Draft Constitution in the lead-up to the 2010 referendum, resulting in a presentation of a memorandum to the Committee of Experts on Constitutional Review.
– Internally, the Governing Council initiated an overhaul of the management, administrative and financial systems, policies and frameworks to bring them in line with current global governance standards. The first outcomes of this are that the Centre now has Finance, Human Resource and Internal Audit manuals and policy guidelines for the first time on record.
– The Centre now has audited accounts that are up-to-date, including those of the years preceding the Council’s tenure that were still pending at the beginning of our service.
– A Director and an Accountant have been competitively hired, as required by the Government procedures. This is the first time that the position of the Director of the KCC has been gazetted in the Kenya Gazette.
– The Centre now has an inventory of its assets.
– We have created and implemented rules of proper conduct in the use of the KCC/KNT’s facilities including insistence on safety procedures, with a total intolerance of over-crowding.
This list, though not exhaustive, points to some of our immediate successes.

The most significant outcome of that tenure was the formulation of a 3 year Strategic Plan that contributes to the achieving of the long-term goals of this Centre. The Strategic Plan has now been approved by the Ministry and was recently formally adopted by the Governing Council as its blueprint for action and performance contract for the next three years beginning this financial year. This bold plan will require change just like the new constitution. They both require a complete transformation of the mind-set to a new dispensation. Change, by its nature, creates a level of uncertainty which provides opportunities for those who wish to go with it, but can also meet resistance for those who wish to retain the status quo.

As we embark on this new term of service, we would like to inform our partners on this journey of the following:
1. The Governing Council directs all communication through our Chairperson and Vice Chairperson. The regular administrative functions of the Kenya Cultural Centre are executed through the Director and his staff, located at the Secretariat within our grounds.
2. There are two representatives from Government who sit on the Governing Council, one from the Ministry of National Heritage and Culture and another from the Ministry of Finance. The Ministries have been kept abreast of all our activities through our regular briefings
3. To date, it is income generated by the Kenya Cultural Centre that goes toward recurrent expenditures at the Centre. The Kenya Cultural Centre is, more or less, currently self-financing. Two recent exceptions, under the tenure of the current Governing Council are the cabro-block carpeting of the parking lot and the refurbishment of the Cultural Centre building roof as well as what was once known as the KCC Concert Hall, re-launched as Ukumbi Mdogo. These have been made possible by the Government of Kenya’s direct developmental support through the Ministries of National Heritage and Culture in collaboration with that of Public Works.
4. The Council is embarking on an effort to upgrade and standardise leasing agreements. This will be done transparently and using third party property experts. Such agreements will acknowledge the dictates of the market as much as possible.
5. Adequate notice has, and will always precede any initiative undertaken by the Governing Council and its management.

As the Governing Council begins the implementation of the Strategic Plan, there will be new developments at the Kenya Cultural Centre from time to time. Some of these developments may result in the changing of ways of working that have characterised this institution for several decades. The Governing Council will, through the Director, continue to issue periodic updates on all the initiatives we embark on with regard to the implementation of the Strategic Plan. We welcome all constructive engagement that will facilitate the institution’s transition into truly becoming the national focal centre for cultural reference, expression and industry.

Signed:
Dr. Mshai Mwangola: Chair KCC Governing Council
Mr. Nicholas ole Moipei: Vice Chair KCC Governing Council

Other Members of the Governing Council are:
1. Ms. Suzanne Gachukia
2. Ms. Lorna Abungu
3. Ms. Dorothy Angote-Muya
4. Mr. John Sibi-Okumu
5. Mr. Kimingichi Wabende
6. Eng. Patrick Obath
7. Mrs. Gladys Gatheru: Representing Permanent Secretary, Ministry of National Heritage and Culture
8. Mr. John Munge: Representing Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance

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