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Iconic fig tree that lived to tell the Christmas story

The lighting of the iconic fig tree along Waiyaki Way in Westlands, Nairobi on Thursday to usher in Christmas Day would not have happened.
The more than a century old, between 125 and 150 years, tree was to be cut down to pave way for the ongoing construction of the multi-billion Nairobi Expressway.
But just like Isaac in the Bible survived from being sacrificed at the hands of his father Abraham, the giant tree escaped at the last minute following spirited outcry from conservationists.
The future of the indeginuous tree had looked bleak but it was spared and lived to tell the Christmas story, a situation that looked impossible two months ago when it dominated both national and international headlines.
And when President Uhuru Kenyatta rose to speak during the ceremony, he unveiled a Presidential Declaration on the conservation of the iconic tree.
With the Presidential declaration, the giant fig tree was officially adopted by the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) for preservation as a beacon of Kenya’s cultural and ecological heritage.
The President said conserving the tree was a reaffirmation of Kenya’s commitment to its cultural values of coexistence, peace and unity as reiterated his administration’s commitment to restore Nairobi’s lost glory as the ‘Green City in the Sun’.
“We are here today on the eve of Christmas to celebrate,I believe our past, our present and our hopes for the future which this iconic tree represents,” said President Kenyatta.
“Indeed, we had this recognition world over of the ‘green city in the sun’ but unfortunately, over the years we abandoned it and we are here to reaffirm and to declare our commitment as a country and as a people to our environment,” he added.
The Head of State pointed out that by preserving the fig tree, the country is demonstrating the possibilities of actualising development while at the same time preserving the environment.
“There can be no greater significant symbol of that commitment than our presence here in front of this fig tree that was here long before Nairobi ever was,” said the head of state.

“By conserving and preserving the tree is a clear indication that it is possible for us to live with nature. It is possible for us to preserve and conserve, while at the same time develop our infrastructure rapidly and our capacity to ensure that our citizens live decent clean lives that each and every person is entitled to,” he added.