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Uhuru officially re-opens Michuki Park – PHOTOS

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday evening re-opened the rehabilitated John Michuki Memorial Park, named after the former environment minister.

While opening the park, the head of state said the recreational centre was only the first in a series of environmental rehabilitation programmes his government has initiated, not only in Nairobi but also across the country.

“We are launching national campaigns towards a common goal of cleaning up Kenya. The programmes will be piloted in Nairobi and take effect on September 1,” said Mr Kenyatta.

The park, which was initially known as the Mazingira Park, was renamed to Michuki Park by the Ministry of Environment in 2012, in honour of the late John Michuki who pioneered the reclaiming of the park.

Mr Kenyatta said that the park has been restored to its initial look and ending criminal activities that have been going on in the park.

“We have moved it from a safe haven for criminals to a place of serene beauty and peace; from black waters of Nairobi River to a swimming destination for ducks and mudfish; and from a lifeless habitat to a life-supporting ecosystem, leading to the re-emergence of birds.”

A tough-talking Mr Kenyatta tasked the Ministry of Interior, headed by Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi, to come up with a formula to run a successful clean-up exercise that will see chiefs undertake a pro-active role.

“Chiefs, it’s your duty to ensure your spaces are clean. Those who implement it well will be promoted. But if you can’t, we will find other people willing to do so,” he warned.

At the same time, the president announced a national clean-up campaign and restoration of forests and recreational centres for beautification and regeneration of the environment.

“We are launching national campaigns towards a common goal of cleaning up Kenya. The programmes will be piloted in Nairobi and take effect September 1,” said Mr Kenyatta at the now aesthetic park.

Last month, Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko, who flagged off the clean-up of the park said its rehabilitation was part of the ongoing process of greening and bringing back the city’s lost glory.

The park is situated along Nairobi River between the Globe Cinema Roundabout and the Museum Hill interchange.

Work to transform the 26-acre park has been shaping up after it was handed to Kenya Forest Service in April as one of the green spaces in Nairobi.

A 2.4km of walkways have been set up, as well as a nursery which will be supplied with indigenous trees.

Public toilets have also been set up; plans are also underway for a café and an open amphitheatre for public performances.

Before 2008, when the late Michuki fronted the idea to restore the area, more than two-thirds of the land was largely unattended and was used as an illegal dumpsite.

A perimeter fence has been erected to keep off outsiders and curb encroachment into the park.