Inside Politics

Sakaja tells Duale to stay away from Uhuru Park project

Friday, April 19th, 2024 04:15 | By
Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja with Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale
Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja with Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale. PHOTO/Print

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja yesterday differed with Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale’s statement declaring Uhuru Park a no-go zone for political activities.

Duale had earlier told the Senate that there were concerns over potential damages arising from large gatherings and declared that Uhuru Park will no longer serve as a venue for political rallies once it re-opens. He emphasised that it would be strictly reserved for non-political events.

“Please tell the political class, those who want to do weddings have a good place, those who want big events, but you know our supporters if they stay there for an hour, then the park will go back to what it used to be,” Duale stated.

However, Sakaja speaking during the official hand-over ceremony of the park said it was up to to the county to decide what the park would be used for.

“It is up to us to decide what the park will be used for. But that I agree, there are certain things we cannot allow. Now the park will be under us and it will be up to us to decide,” he said.

Sakaja added that Kamukunji grounds was open for political rallies but upon payment of fees as indicated in the Nairobi Finance Act, 2023.

Global standards

In response, Duale  told Sakaja that for the park to maintain global standards, rallies should not be allowed there.

“I’m just giving the Governor a hint that if we have to maintain the global park standards, we have to give an alternative for political rallies. We cannot have our cake and eat it,” he said.

“We can’t have a good park and people destroy the park in six hours,” Duale added while urging the Governor to maintain the park to standards.

The Ministry of Defence signed an MoU with Nairobi county to oversee the transition period of the hand over.

Duale said the MoU will act as a legal framework for KDF for the next nine months during the transition period.

“The MoU is a legal framework. As Defence forces, we cannot be in a place without a legal framework for the transition period,” he said.

“If our duty will be done even after two months, we shall leave. The defence ministry has no business in running parks,” Duale added.

Proper lighting system

However,  Duale said the ministry would be readily available when called upon by City Hall.

Brigadier Titus Sokobe, the Project Manager who oversaw  the Uhuru Park renovation project, said the remaining work would be finalised soon.

He assured City Hall that water is available in the park as well a proper lighting system.

“This park is dear to us and it was the reason why the government saw it fit to upgrade it. It was a crime hide out where mugging, pick pocketing were happening but now we have transformed it,” Sokobe noted.

He announced that renovation of Central Park will be complete in two weeks time saying that the ongoing rains have slowed down the work.

Sokobe emphasised that KDF will no longer provide security at the park.

“We believe that City Hall and police will provide adequate security and that people of Nairobi will go back to enjoying the park,” he said.

In addition, Sakaja  said that the county will issue public tenders for the business opportunities. He said the park will house businesses premises and a club.

“There will be a club here.. as we said, we removed the bars and clubs from the estates. If people want to make noise, let them come here,” Sakaja added.

Also, there are plans to set up a dancing fountain worth Sh156 million.

Sakaja commended the military for exemplary work of renovating the park.

 “There are some works that the military will still do here (Uhuru Park) and Central Park. We have seen the work and professionalism of the military which is a great asset and we appreciate the work done,” he said.

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