The High Court has suspended ongoing renovations at Uhuru Park in Nairobi pending the hearing and determination of a petition challenging the exercise.
The case, filed by the Communist Party of Kenya, is before Edward Karoph Wabwoto of the Environment and Land Court.
The petitioners through lawyers Nelson Havi and Benedict Wachira argue that there was no public participation or an Environment Impact Assessment in the whole exercise.
“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.”
The renovations meant to give the popular park located next to the Central Business District (CBD) a facelift are being conducted by the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS).
The decision to rehabilitate the park was approved on Tuesday, 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 NMS boss Major General Mohammed Badi to work around the clock to complete the renovations within three months.
“We will give them the three months to renovate the place but they should not fence off the place and then disappear,” said Ogada.
The park is mainly frequented by Kenyans in need of a rest, some of whom refer to it as ‘jobless corner’.