The Kenya Forest Service has deployed rangers to City Park to strengthen security just two days after it took over the recreational facility’s management.
On Wednesday, the management of City Park was put under the KFS following a directive by the national government.
“The President has directed that henceforth the park will be put under the charge of Kenya Forest Service,” Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko said.
The park has for years been managed by the Nairobi City County government.
On Friday, KFS chief conservator Julius Kamau said the deployment of rangers was in line with the Presidential directive.
President Uhuru Kenyatta on June 5 while commemorating the World Environment Day, directed the Environment ministry and the Nairobi Metropolitan Services and KFS to reclaim and conserve the public land.
The President urged the KFS to fast-track the forest management plan with community associations for the area to be fenced.
“We are also reclaiming our Ngong Forest. We are going to start the process of fencing it and ensuring that it is also available not only for the present but also for future generations,” Uhuru said.
On Friday, Kamau said, “KFS has today deployed rangers to institute the much-needed security and protect the park to forestall any further degradation through dumping of waste, destruction of biodiversity and encroachment of this very iconic green space.”
Kamau visited the park for a debrief and to provide guidance to a team of senior KFS officers led by deputy chief conservator Charity Munyasya on the ongoing reconnaissance and mapping out of the park to inform the roadmap for its restoration and rehabilitation.
They said the have commenced the reclamation of the park and will rehabilitate it for recreational use in accordance with the Presidential directive.
“In addition, KFS will work in collaboration with the National Environment Management Authority, Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), National Museums of Kenya, and other stakeholders in restoring the park,” Kamau said.
Tobiko had on Wednesday said KFS will be working in partnership with Nema which will be responsible for waste and air pollution management in the park.
The Kenya Forestry Research Institute will be in charge of research and development and together with the National Museums of Kenya establish a module on the national botanical garden.
The NMK will also be responsible for the protection of national heritage and historical sites within City Park.
Tobiko said the county governments had been the obstacle to the fight against land-grabbing. He regretted that as other state agencies reclaimed the land, the county government were grabbing it.
“I’m not attributing blame to any individual, but it is a structural problem across many counties since public parks were placed under the management of county governments. It was because of that that Governor Mike Sonko handed over the functions to the national government and NMS was created,” Tobiko said.
He said the park will remain a public facility.
“We welcome all investors who want to bring in their resources and work with us but the park’s management shall not be permitted to belong to a private entity.”
A legal mechanism is being put in place to ensure that regardless of who is in office, the park will not be privatised.
The CS commended Friends of City Park for their efforts in sustaining the area and keeping land grabbers at bay.
“The Friends of City Park will continue to play a central role of management and conservation of the park regardless of the joint participatory framework that will be put in place,” he said.
Edited by P.O
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