H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta unveiling the plaque to mark the launch of the John Michuki Memorial Park
The much awaited opening of the newest urban green zone – Hon John Michuki Memorial park took place on 14th August 2020 in a colorful ceremony presided over by H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The event was a culmination of over three months of extensive rehabilitation works carried out by Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Forstry Research Institute (KEFRI), National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) under the guidance of Cabient Secretary Ministry of Environment and Forestrym, Keriako Tobiko and other stakeholders including the National Museums of Kenya and the Nairobi Metropolitan Services.
In his speech, the President noted that green spaces in the form of parks and arboretums were very important in the sustainable development of cities and well being of their residents.
The president announced a national cleanup campaign to boost the country’s environmental conservation efforts. He said the campaign which is set to kick off on September 1st is dubbed ‘Cleaning Up Kenya Campaign’ and shall be led by cadres of the National Government Administration Officers (NGAOs).
“The Campaign shall be anchored on the National Government Administration Officers at the local level who shall work together with the local communities and with stakeholders both within and outside of Government to enhance environmental restoration, conservation and management,” the President said.
NEMA Board Members at Michuki Park during the launch
“Within the Cleaning Up Kenya Campaign, Chiefs are encouraged to proactively involve vulnerable members of their local communities and marginalized groups such as Women, Youth and Persons Living with Disabilities,” he said.
The Park is named in honour of the late former Minister John Michuki who a played a key role in the clean up of Nairobi River and its environ during his tenure as the Minister for Environment.
President Kenyatta pointed out that besides Michuki Park, the Government is working on renewing several other green spaces within the city among them the Nairobi Arboretum, Karura Forest, City Park and Ngong Road Forest.
“And we hope to extend this re-birth of our environment or what I call the ‘green renaissance’ to all Counties of the Republic,” President Kenyatta said. The President regretted mistakes of the past especially weak enforcement of environmental and sanitation that led to Nairobi losing its green city status.
“As Government, we did not enforce the civic responsibility of the citizen to take care of the green spaces. And the citizens of Nairobi city were not organized enough to protect it. Because of this, and the rapid growth of ‘concrete spaces’ over the ‘green spaces’, there was a collapse of civic order and national duty in the city,” he said.
CS Enviroment and Forestry, Keriako Tobiko, Ellyanne Wanjiku, Youngest Climate Change Ambassador and NEMA Deputy Vice Chairperson, Peninah Aloo-Obudho at Michuki park during the launch
The Head of State said every Kenyan has a responsibility to conserve the environment and quoted from several books including the Bible, the Qu’aran and the Vedas to emphasize the importance of environmental conservation.
President Kenyatta said green spaces are the lungs that help cities to breath by improving on the quality of air and absorbing toxins emitted by the environment.
“And this is why we are targeting a 10% forest cover across the entire country by the year 2020. Within Nairobi, the Michuki Park is the first attempt at pushing this ‘green renaissance’," he said.
Other speakers were Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko, Environment and Forestry CS Keriako Tobiko and Nairobi Metropolitan Services Director General Major Gen. Mohammed Badi.
Head of Public Service Dr Joseph Kinyua and Cabinet Secretaries Fred Matiangi (Interior) and Amina Mohamed (Sports) were among several senior government officials at the launch.
CS Environment and Forestry, Keriako Tobiko watering a tree flanked by NEMA Chairman, John Konchellah (L) among other board members at Michuki Park during the launch
For the three months rehabilitation period of the park, NEMA was charged with the duty to cleanup Nairobi River from all illegal discharges and waste management within the park. The culprits have been apprehended and charged in court who have been found discharing untreated effluent into the river as well as encroaching into the riparian zones of Nairobi River. During the launch, the president acknowledged the efforts put in place by various Authorities including NEMa as the water was now cleaner.
The NEMA team was led by chairman, John Konchellah, Director General, Mamo Boru Mamo, board members- Prof. Peninah Aloo-Obudho, Hon. Halima Ware, Hon. Augustinho Neto, Teresia Malokwe, Prof. Bernabas Mitaru and Dr. Juma Ngeiywa