Green Belt Movement, LSK demand Sakaja to withdraw plans to build nightclub at Uhuru Park

By , K24 Digital
On Fri, 19 Apr, 2024 13:32 | 3 mins read
Nairobi County Governor Johnson Sakaja. PHOTO/Sakaja(@SakajaJohnson)/X
Nairobi County Governor Johnson Sakaja. PHOTO/@SakajaJohnson/X.

The Green Belt Movement alongside the Law Society of Kenya has demanded Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja reconsider his plans to build a nightclub at Uhuru Park.

In a formal demand letter dated Friday, April 19, and directly addressed to Governor Sakaja, the groups expressed their concerns regarding the proposed commercialization of Uhuru Park, a move they deemed as contradictory to its established purpose as a public recreational area.

The letter, penned by representatives of both organizations, noted the necessity of transparency and public involvement in decisions impacting such community spaces.

They called upon Governor Sakaja to provide detailed information on the plans outlined in his recent address regarding the conversion of Uhuru Park into a commercial centre, complete with restaurants and clubhouses.

Furthermore, the groups demanded clarity on Nairobi County's strategy for the creation, protection, and promotion of non-commercialized open green spaces across the city, noting the importance of maintaining such areas for the well-being of residents.

"I write on behalf of my clients; the Law Society of Kenya, The Greenbelt Movement and Dr Owiso Owiso Advocate, seeking information under Article 35 of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010. My clients, as well as the residents of the great Nairobi County, would like to know in detail information on the plans you passionately expressed in your address to wit: (i) Plans on the conversion of the extensive green space, Uhuru Park into a commercial centre, complete with restaurants and clubhouses (ii) Nairobi County's plans on creation, protection, and promotion of non-commercialized. open green spaces in at least every sub-county within Nairobi. (iii) Timeframe for reopening the non-commercialized, extensive greenspace in all that formerly known as Central Park within Nairobi Central Business District. Kindly share with us the said plans regarding query (i), along with the Public Participation Reports within the next 48 hours," the letter stated.

"We demand that this be done not any later than Friday, 19th April 2024 by 6:00 pm."

In their letter, the groups highlighted the importance of upholding the sanctity of public green spaces like Uhuru Park, emphasizing their value to the well-being and quality of life of Nairobi's residents.

The groups warned of potential legal action should Sakaja fail to heed their calls.

"We hope that reason shall prevail and that the demands made herein shall be met," the letter concluded.

The Green Belt Movement, founded by the late environmental and political activist Wangari Maathai, has long been at the forefront of advocating for the preservation of Kenya's Green natural spaces within the country.

Sakaja's nightclub idea

Sakaja announced on Thursday, April 18, 2024, his intentions to build a nightclub within Uhuru Park, as part of broader plans to enhance the park's offerings.

During a ceremony marking the park's handover from the Ministry of Defence, Sakaja emphasized the nightclub's role in providing an alternative entertainment option to estate-based clubs.

He assured that once completed, the nightclub would operate without noise restrictions, allowing revellers to party until dawn.

Furthermore, Sakaja revealed plans for public-private partnerships to establish amenities like restaurants within the park.

Among the proposed additions is a dancing fountain valued at Ksh156 million.

To facilitate these developments, the county government will initiate a transparent tendering process for interested investors.

"We are going to issue some tenders in the expression of interest for the business facilities that are here. There are restaurants such as Swahili and African that are part of the plan. There is a nightclub that is going to be here..... We agreed hio kupiga kelele kwa estate muache. You can come here and screen until the cows come home. That is the zone, sherehe mfanyie hapo. The tendering will be done in a very transparent way, so whoever wants to build the club can come," he said.

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