Friends of City Park–Press Release -Tuesday 10th December 2013
The Friends of City Park, Nature Kenya, a Nairobi residents group, champion Nairobi City Park. The Park has served as a site for leisure, recreation, education, and a better quality of life for the community in Nairobi since the early 1900s, and is an important part of Nairobi’s heritage. The Friends mission is to ensure that City Park exists for future generations, and is a vibrant, free, biodiverse, historical, secure park.
Working since 1996, the Friends of City Park have protested time and time again, against numerous attempted land grabs within its boundaries. The Friends were also key in the gazettement by the National Museums of Kenya of approximately 60 hectares of City Park as a heritage site. We therefore welcome all efforts to preserve and rehabilitate this precious asset.
As part of this effort, a Rehabilitation Funding and Technical Assistance Agreement (RFTA) was drawn up between the previous government and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC). At a public forum held at City Park on 4 October 2013, the Nairobi County government acknowledged that the current government stakeholders are discussing a revision of the RFTA with recognition for the need for more public consultation.
The Friends fully support such a revision. A stakeholder review of the RFTA, informed by on-the-ground, technical, and local knowledge, is needed to provide the space for public consultation that is guaranteed in the national constitution for governmental and public oversight. It will also enhance the prospects for donor funding for the Park and help to ensure the sustainability of its rehabilitation and conservation.
The Friends have met with the Nairobi County Governor, National Lands Commissioners, and the National Museums of Kenya, Director-General, and AKTC to raise these issues, which we believe would make the RFTA stronger for all stakeholders involved with enhanced protections for the park, and its users.
Further to the studies already undertaken, the Friends welcome every opportunity to work together with all stakeholders to undertake additional research and surveys to guide the decisions for the rehabilitation of this park.
The Friends of City Park, Chair, Catherine Ngarachu, says “The RFTA offers an opportunity for resources to improve this public green space, and we are pushing for a framework which integrates community involvement and explicitly protects the unique heritage of this park. A better arrangement will ensure that this County treasure receives the stewardship it requires to make it a successful park.”