Take It Elsewhere: Kenyans Enraged by Nairobi Expressway Tearing Through Uhuru Park

Uhuru Park in Nairobi

Angry Kenyans have come out to condemn the government after it emerged that the Nairobi-Westlands Expressway, whose construction was launched last week, will pass through Uhuru Park in Nairobi.

An article published by the Standard on Saturday revealed that the much hyped highway prospected to ease traffic along Mombasa Road among other roads in Nairobi, will take up part of the space at the treasured leisure park in the CBD.

According to Kenyans, the government allowing this is in bad taste and disrespectful to the late Wangari Maathai who fought tooth and nail against individuals who had attempted to encroach on the public park for commercial developments.

“Prof Wangari Maathai and determined women almost lost their lives fighting for this park but (someone) smoking goodness knows what has been lied to…to destroy Uhuru Park just so him/his cronies can make billions? Am one angry Kenyan today!” @yourspenfully lamented.

“A sick government acting on misplaced mis-advised priorities. That expressway passing through Uhuru Park is as useless as a car with no engine considering the economy. Why not use that money to do something sensible like building dams in drought prone areas?” Another concerned citizen, Gakenyi Mwangi posed.

Others called out the government for what they termed as double standards with the recent eviction of families livig in the Mau Forest in the name of conservation of public resources.

Uhuru Park is one of the most revered recreational public amenities in Nairobi. Kenyans can be found basking in the sun, holding Bunge ya Mwananchi conversations under the park trees, or taking rides on boats in the park.

According to the Standard, the Expressway will also force the removal of the historic Papal Dias at the University of Nairobi, where Pope Francis gave his address during his visit to Kenya in 2015.

The government has in the past come under fire for encroachment of natural resources for commercial purposes, such as during the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway which crosses the Nairobi National Park.

A railway line crossing a national park
Other notable establishments to be affected by the construction of the Highway, for which the Standard reports that the government will have to compensate owners of 40 acres of land, include Next Gen Mall, part of the Railways Club, and St Pauls University of Nairobi Catholic Chapel.

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