The Sydney Morning Herald and the Timesonline report that the French President, Sarkozy has called on UNESCO to include French cuisine on the world heritage list.
“We have the best gastronomy in the world”, declared the President at the opening of an agriculture show in Paris, and he wants France to be the first country to apply to UNESCO for its "gastronomic tradition" to be recognized as a world heritage. Already there is a national campaign lead by leading chefs who fear that French cuisine is threatened by global food industry.
Our own Lake Turkana National Parks, Mount Kenya National Parkt and Lamu Old Town are some of the sites appearing on the UNESCO heritage list.
This brings us to the two issues of the Kiondo and the Kikoy which have generated heated debate both locally and internationally over what we regard as “theft” of our cultural heritage by developed countries.
Shouldn’t Kenya also start a campaign to have the kiondo and kikoy listed as cultural heritage?
It will be recalled that Kikoy was in the news last year when a company in UK applied to register the word KIKOY as a trade mark - UK trade mark application number 2431257. However an opposition was filed to stop the intended registration and the matter is yet to be determined by the UK Patent Office.
The claim that Kiondo is patented by some unnamed Japanese is an emotive issue in Kenya. However no proof has been put forth to back the claim of any one having patented the kiondo in any country.
Unlike the KIKOY issue in which it is possible to identify the trade mark application number and the applicant, we have never heard of any Japanese individual or company claiming ownership of a Kiondo patent and the patent number has never been cited in any of the debates.
As a way of protecting these two Kenyan icons, should we also campaign for their inclusion in the world heritage list as cultural items?