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Why Francis Atwoli Road in Kileleshwa has reverted to its original name

The residents of Dik Dik Gardens, Kileleshwa, Nairobi, this week erected back the original signage months after the High Court quashed the decision to rename after Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary General Francis Atwoli.

In September 2023, Justice Anthony Mrima said the decision made by the Nairobi County government on May 27, 2021, was in violation of the constitution as the residents’ views were not sought before the name change.

The Francis Atwoli road signage in Nairobi is razed by unknown people. PHOTO| COURTESY

The judge said having decided to re-name the road, the least the county government would have done was to call for a form of stakeholders’ engagement, as required by the constitution.

Having so acted, the Respondents were in clear derogation of the constitutional principle of public participation as enshrined in Articles 10(2), 174 and 232(1)(d) and (h) of the Constitution.

Justice Mrima further said Mr Atwoli should also have ensured that the decision was within the constitution and the law after he was informed of the decision to name the public road after him.

“Therefore, the decision to re-name the Dik Dik Road to Francis Atwoli Road by the Respondents is hereby quashed,” Justice Anthony Mrima said.

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The residents of Dik Dik Gardens led by their officials Arnold Kipkoti, Adrian Kanchoro Mulata and Anuj Rajani, moved to court faulting the county’s decision.

The residents stated that the road is used and maintained by them and members of the public visiting the estate.

The signage has been missing since September 2023 after the court ruled it illegal.

The court was informed that Mr Atwoli, owns a residential home in the estate and is a member of the association who participated or was aware that the road to the estate was collectively named Dik Dik Road by the residents.

During the case, Nairobi County, in opposing the case asked the court to have the same dismissed.

In an affidavit, Eric Abwao Odhiambo, the Acting County Solicitor of the Nairobi City County Government, said it was practically impossible to conduct public participation in the exercise of renaming the road.

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Mr Atwoli, on the other hand, said he was also not aware of any obligation by the Nairobi City County Government to gazette any proposed changes to the roads in the Kenya gazette.

He explained how he honoured the county’s invitation to have Dik Dik Road renamed after him as a result of his long and distinguished service in the labour industry. He urged the court to dismiss the case.

He denied hiring goons to protect the signage and maintained that he was only a beneficiary of the county government’s internal process of renaming Dik Dik Road, a process that falls squarely within its ambit.