A place of tranquility for many Nairobi dwellers and a mere stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Uhuru Park is one of the few green recreational spaces in the city.
However, according to a detailed plan signed by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday, October 16, 2019, dubbed as the Development of Nairobi Expressway Project, a huge chunk of the recreational park would be destroyed to make way for the road.
The report also revealed that the historic papal dais at the University of Nairobi would have to be demolished in order for the road which stretches from Mlololongo to James Gichuru road to be set up.
Other properties to be possibly affected include; Next-Gen Mall, Khalsa Primary School, parts of the Railways Club, St Pauls University of Nairobi Catholic Chapel, Military Camp and National Persons with Disabilities plots in Westlands, a section of the report disclosed.
The information sparked a huge uproar across various social media platforms, with the majority of Kenyans opposed to the destruction of the capital’s nature park.
“Kenyans cannot escape mediocre ideas from the powerful. I don’t know how Prof. Mathai would react if she heard that the Uhuru Park she got clobbered protecting from encroachment is about to be ripped apart by some road which we’re paying the Chinese Ksh102 billion to build and operate,” Chris Mwachi a posted o his facebook page.
This was in reference to the late professor Wangari Maathai’s move in the 1980s to protect the park from the then ruling party – Kenya African National Union (KANU) party, led by former President Daniel arap Moi.
She was teargassed, beaten, arrested, and thrown into one of Moi’s infamous underground cells.
This fact was not lost on most netizens, who went on to blast Uhuru over his project.
Kenya National Highways Agency Director, Peter Mundia confirmed that all feasibility studies had been carried out and the project was set to kick off.
China Roads and Bridge Company (CRBC) – that was awarded the contract to build the 27km road, is expected to operate the highway independently from 2023 to 2049.
“Already all feasibility studies, traffic origin and destinations surveys, geological investigations and submission of the privately initiated investment proposal between Kenha and CRBC,” Mundia announced.