Nairobi Governor Sakaja's Plan for Uhuru Park Nightclub Faces Backlash

Nairobi governor's plan to build a nightclub in Uhuru Park sparks backlash from Kenyans who want to preserve the iconic public green space for families and recreation.

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Nairobi Governor Sakaja's Plan for Uhuru Park Nightclub Faces Backlash

Nairobi Governor Sakaja's Plan for Uhuru Park Nightclub Faces Backlash

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja has announced controversial plans to build a nightclub within Uhuru Park, a cherished public green space in the city. The proposal, which Sakaja says will provide an alternative to nightclubs operating in residential areas, has sparked widespread backlash and criticism from Kenyans.

Under Sakaja's plan, the nightclub and other facilities like Swahili and African restaurants would be built in Uhuru Park through public-private partnerships. The governor stated that the specific locations have already been identified and the tendering process will be transparent and in line with procurement laws. He also appealed to the public to protect the park and avoid any acts of vandalism.

However, many Kenyans have expressed their dissatisfaction and opposition to the nightclub plan on social media. Critics argue that Uhuru Park should remain a green space for families and recreation, not a commercial venue. Governance experts and activists, including the late Wangari Maathai who fought to preserve the park as a public space, are now opposing what they see as a misplaced priority by the governor.

Why this matters: The controversy over the proposed Uhuru Park nightclub touches on issues of public spaces, urban development, and the priorities of elected officials. The strong backlash highlights the importance many Kenyans place on preserving green spaces like Uhuru Park for public use rather than private commercial interests.

Sakaja's nightclub plan is part of a broader effort to transform Uhuru Park and the adjacent Central Park into social and economic hubs. The governor said Kenyans will not be charged to access the park, but some exclusive spaces will have fees. He also mentioned pending renovation works totaling around 500 million Kenyan shillings, including draining the pond and installing dancing fountains.

The proposal comes after Uhuru Park, which was closed for rehabilitation under the national government, was handed back over to the Nairobi county government. In November 2022, City Hall had cancelled licenses for nightclubs operating in residential areas, with Sakaja outlining a new policy to restrict such establishments to the central business district and specified streets.

Key Takeaways

  • Nairobi governor plans to build nightclub in Uhuru Park, sparking backlash.
  • Proposal includes restaurants, facilities in public green space via public-private partnerships.
  • Critics argue Uhuru Park should remain a green space for public use, not commercial.
  • Governor says nightclub is part of broader effort to transform Uhuru Park into social hub.
  • Controversy highlights tensions between public spaces and private commercial interests.