Uhuru Park is a recreational park adjacent to the central business district of Nairobi, Kenya. It was opened to the general public by the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta on 23 May 1969. It contains an artificial lake for people to go boat riding, several national monuments, and an assembly ground which has become a popular skateboarding spot on weekends, catering to Nairobi’s growing skate scene.
Apart from skateboarding, the assembly ground is used for occasional political and religious gatherings.
For Picnic Lovers, Uhuru Park provides the ideal setting, with the option of buying snacks from food vendors dotting various corners of the park’s walkways.
In 1989, Wangari Maathai and many of her followers held a protest at the park, attempting to stop the construction of the 60-storey Kenya Times Media Trust business complex. She was forced by the government to vacate her office and was vilified in parliament, but her protests and the government’s response led foreign investors to cancel the project.
In August 1996, a group led by a Catholic cardinal and Archbishop Maurice Michael Otunga burned a heap of condoms in Uhuru Park.
Uhuru Park was the scene of a bomb blast in June 2010, which killed six people and left over 100 people injured. The attack targeted a “NO” campaign rally for the forthcoming constitutional referendum.
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Hundreds throng Uhuru Park to celebrate Christmas Day
Updated On:25th December 2017
A spot check by Capital FM News found people engaging various activities including camel riding, boat rides, face-painting while other were just relaxing.
Boat rides which are usually less busy on normal days were busy, with people of all ages queuing to take a ride in the poorly maintained waters at Uhuru Park.
“My son insisted that he must ride the boat…we have to wait until we get a chance,” Cleopas Wachira, a resident of the city said.
There are those who just lay there, admiring the city, as they chatted away, perhaps reviewing the year or reminiscing on how they will make merry during the New Year celebrations.
“We are just here to have fun and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ,” another said.
For some, this was the best moment to bond after a hectic year.
“We cherish this moment since we are all here as a family. As a parent I feel good to have all my children and now in a different setup,” Esther Akinyi asserted.
At the far end of the park, another group was seen singing worship songs, thanking God for getting them to this far.
There are those who went on with their businesses in the city, despite the ongoing festivities, because for them it’s a time to make money.
Collins Mukuria a vendor within the park said he had made a lot of sales.
“We have so many people, unlike last year…seems they didn’t go to the village,” a visibly excited Mukuria said. “The business is doing well. I have a reason to celebrate.”
It was obvious that even as they celebrated, a majority of them were concerned about next year’s elections.
They did not want anything that would ruin the serenity and peace they were enjoying.
Those who spoke to Capital FM News urged the rest of Kenyans to remain united even after the festive season, more so during the electioneering period.
“We should not forget that we are one and politicians should not divide us,” Hamisi Abbas said.
On why they chose to remain in the city, some cited economic challenges while other said they had developed travelling phobia due to the numerous road accidents that have been experienced lately in the country.
“We have to prepare our children with whatever they need as they resume studies and prepare the school fees,” Nicholas Isola, a father of three said.
“I have to cut the expenses so that I don’t inconvenience myself come January.”
There were numerous police officers patrolling the park, to ensure the safety for the merry-makers.