Court Declines To Lift Orders Halting Renovations At Uhuru Park

Uhuru Park

Renovations at Uhuru Park [Photo/Courtesy]

The High Court has declined to lift orders stopping renovations at Uhuru Park in Nairobi County.

Justice Edward Wabwoto on Thursday rejected the request by the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) arguing that allowing the process to go on would defeat the case filed by the Communist Party of Kenya (CPK).

NMS was in charge of the renovations at the city park that were halted on December 7 pending hearing and determination of the CPK case.

The petitioners through lawyers Nelson Havi and Benedict Wachira argued that there was no public participation or an Environment Impact Assessment in the whole exercise.

“This court was satisfied there was a prima facie case warranting the specific conservatory orders that were issued. I reiterate that it would, in the circumstances of this case, be improper for this court to purport to overturn the said orders at this stage,” Justice Wabwoto ruled yesterday.

CPK had told the court that the project is ‘shrouded in secrecy’ and will adversely affect the environmental qualities of the park.

Read: NMS Closes Uhuru Park for Three-month Renovation Works

“The 1st Respondent has also initiated a process of replacing the green lawn of grass at the Park with concrete cement blocks, an action which, unless stalled by this Court, will greatly degrade the botanical and environmental qualities of the Park to the detriment of Nairobi residents who have been the greatest beneficiaries of the same,” reads court papers.

“The project is shrouded in secrecy, where the whole Park has been blocked from the public, and all attempts by the Petitioner to gain information on the Project from the 1st and 2nd Respondents have failed.”

NMS boss Lieutenant General Mohammed Badi also suffered a blow after the judge dismissed his claims that he was not served with the petition and that the order was issued without hearing his side.

Read Also:  Court Suspends Ongoing Renovations At Uhuru Park

“In view of the foregoing, I, therefore, find that service was properly effected and all the respondents including the Second Respondent (Lt Gen Badi). The Second Respondent cannot choose at this stage to argue that he was never personally served,” said the judge.

“Furthermore, the conservatory orders issued were issued based on facts placed before the court, which facts have not been proven to be false as the applicant and the First Respondent (NMS) depose clearly that the Environmental Impact Assessment licence has not been issued to date.”

Read Also: We Are Fine With Traffic Jams, Kenyans Tell Gov’t Over Expressway That Cuts Through Uhuru Park

The decision to rehabilitate the park was approved on September 28 by the Nairobi County Assembly.

A motion tabled in the assembly to temporarily close the park was supported by Majority leader Abdi Guyo and Minority leader Micheal Ogada who urged the authorities led by Badi to work around the clock to complete the renovations within three months.

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Written by Wycliffe Nyamasege


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