EDITORIAL: Reverse naming of Francis Atwoli Road

In Summary

• At the end of May, acting Nairobi Governor Ann Kananu renamed Dik Dik Road as Francis Atwoli Road

• Government regulations set in 2017 prohibit the naming of public roads after living people

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

At the end of May, Nairobi County renamed Dik Dik Road in Kileleshwa as Francis Atwoli Road. The Cotu secretary general said he was honoured for his selfless contribution to the cause of Kenyan workers.

Unfortunately not everyone agrees and the signpost has twice been vandalised since then.

The moral of this story is that streets and public buildings should not be named after living people. There is too much potential for controversy, especially when the final sentence has not yet been written in the story of that person's life. Who knows what might happen?

There is no problem if Nairobi county names a street after a deceased person. Three months ago, Accra Road was renamed Kenneth Matiba Road. No-one complained. Similarly, it would be fine if Nairobi named a road after the late Chris Kirubi. His life history is known and complete.

Ironically, in June 2017, the National Addressing System Strategy Development and Implementation Committee prohibited changing street names to those of  living persons.

Sadly, those rules were not followed in this case. Nairobi county should reverse its decision and let the name of Dik Dik Road stay as it was.

Quote of the day: "We are all the children of one God. The sun, the darkness, the winds are all listening to what we have to say."

The Apache Native American leader was born on June 16, 1829

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