Limuru Road to be renamed Wangari Maathai Road

Limuru Road to be renamed Wangari Maathai Road

In honour of the late Prof. Wangari Muta Maathai, a renowned environmentalist and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, the County Government of Nairobi will now rename the famous Limuru Road, that branch from Thika Road to Ruaka, to Wangari Maathai Road.

Nairobi Governor Dr. Evans Kidero said this will go a long way in environmental conservation by emulating the deeds of the late Maathai.

“We want to honour the late Mama Mathai for what she did for the country, especially in areas of environment. If it were not for her efforts in environmental conservation, Karura Forest and Uhuru Park would have been a thing of the past,” said Governor Kidero.

He said the announcement was not a road-side declaration but a way of appreciating her relentless efforts in conserving the environment.

The Governor’s announcement came days after Karura Ward Member of the County Assembly Kamau Thuo filed a motion to have the road renamed to the Nobel Laureate.

“The country has since independence named and renamed roads to honour our heroes and heroines who have contributed immensely to the development of the republic,” Thuo told the Nairobi County Assembly.

If passed, the motion – that comes up for debate next week – will pave way for City Hall to rename the road in honour of Prof. Maathai, who passed away on September 21st, 2011 at the age of 71.

The late environmentalist and political activist is remembered for marching to Karura Forest in Nairobi on January 8th, 1999 with a group of about 20 friends to plant trees at the forest, part of which had been allocated to well-connected individuals and companies.

Maathai and her colleagues were attacked by demonstrators who knocked her down and left her unconscious leading to her hospitalization. The forest, however, was rescued from the privatization attempt.

In 1977, she founded the Green Belt Movement (GBM) to encourage women to plant trees in order to improve their lives through access to clean water by reversing the effects of deforestation.

The movement has so far planted over 30 million trees across Africa and assisted more than 900,000 women to plant trees.

She became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 after decades of environmental and political activism to conserve forests in Kenya and beyond.

Wangari Maathai is, and will be, remembered for her iconic role in fighting for rights of women, democracy and environmental conservation.

Early this year the African Union honoured her by naming the gardens in front of its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia the Wangari Maathai Gardens as a highlight of work and achievements in environment, human rights and democracy.

Other roads in Nairobi whose names have been changed before include Sadler Street which was renamed Koinage Street, Lord Delamere Avenue renamed Kenyatta Avenue and Government Road renamed Moi Avenue.