Court overturns decision to name road after Francis Atwoli

The case was filed in court by the Dik Dik Gardens Residents Association.

In Summary

•Court faults Atwoli for failing to ensure the Constitution was upheld.

•Judge says Atwoli cannot now hide under the rest of the County and claim that he was not the one who made the impugned decision.

Unknown individual setting fire on Francis Atwoli Road signpost.
Unknown individual setting fire on Francis Atwoli Road signpost.

The High Court has quashed a decision by the county government of Nairobi that renamed the Dik Dik Road after trade unionist Francis Atwoli.

Justice Anthony Mrima said the decision to re-name the road should have been subjected to public participation.

“Such a decision called for public engagement prior to being made. Such processes would have been carried out in parliament or in the county assembly of the Nairobi city county,”

The case was filed in court by the Dik Dik Gardens Residents Association.

Dik Dik Gardens is a residential estate located between Kenya High School, Gem Lane and Riverside Drive in Kileleshwa within Nairobi City County.

Arnold Kipkoti, Adan Kanchoro Mulata and Anuj Rajani were listed as the officials and representatives of the Association. They are also the ones who petitioned the court.

They argued that the county did not consult them when they decided to uproot the road signpost bearing the name ‘Dik Dik Road’ and replace it with Francis Atwoli Road.

During the hearing, they contended that the decision affects the residents of the estate who put up the road and have been maintaining the same over time.

They denied that the road was being maintained by Kenya Urban Roads Authority.

But the county in opposing the case asked the court to have the same dismissed.

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

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 invitation by the County 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.

But Justice Anthony Mrima said the Court said Atwoli was under a duty to ensure that the said re-naming was within the constitution and the law.

“Atwoli was to at least ensure there was public engagement before the decision was made so as to be off the hook in going against the constitution and the law,” said the Judge.

He faulted the county for failing to make the Kileleshwa residents aware of why the road was being re-named and an opportunity to contribute to the process by giving their views.

He said the petitioners were able to prove that there was no public participation or stakeholder consultations before the move was made.

The Judge further stated that the respondents did not avail any resolution on the change of the name even after contending that renaming of roads was the preserve of parliament.

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