Gov’t Deals a Big Blow to ‘Hands Off Uhuru Park’ Movement

The Nairobi County government has refused to issue the Green Belt Movement with a permit to hold the “Hands Off Uhuru Park event scheduled for today, November 16.

JKIA-Westlands expressway artistic impression.

According to activist Boniface Mwangi, a county official confirmed to the organisers that the controversial expressway from JKIA to Westlands, had already been approved to go through the iconic Uhuru Park.”

“The county official said the expressway project is approved to go through Uhuru Park and the Greenbelt movement event is anti-government,” Mwangi posted on Twitter.

This comes just two weeks after the government said it had gone back to the drawing board and varied designs for the road in order to leave the park intact.

Infrastructure Principal Secretary Paul Maringa had assured Kenyans that no part of the park would be touched.

“We have since varied the design and we shall make sure that Uhuru Park remains intact,” Kenya National Highways Authority Director-General Peter Mundinia explained, following public outcry on the original plan to excise 18 metres of the park to facilitate building of the expressway.

Image result for Uhuru Park
Kenyans enjoy their time at Uhuru Park

Other properties set to be affected by the project include Next-Gen Mall, parts of the Railways Club and Boulevard Hotel. Others to give way for the road are a military camp and National Persons with Disabilities plots in Westlands.

The Green Belt Movement, which is associated with Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai, has been at the forefront protesting the move by the government to devour part of Uhuru Park for the expressway.

Though details about this Jubilee mega investment remain a highly guarded secret, sources say China Roads and Bridge Company will put in about KSh 65 billion.

Image result for Uhuru Park
JKIA-Westlands expressway artistic impression

The project shall be under the Chinese company until 2049 when it will hand it over to the Kenyan government.

The new road is estimated to accommodate 22,000 motorists per day when completed.

The expressway will be tolled at a cost of Sh11.24 per km, with the journey from Mlolongo to James Gichuru Road set to cost motorists an average of Sh300.

Kenyans have questioned its economic viability considering the KSh 65 billion will be loaned to Kenya government.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *