12 November 2009

Uhuru Park

Uhuru (Freedom) Park is a green space in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, nestling in the Upper Hill neighbourhood and bordering the central business district. It is close to the Kenyatta National Hospital and parliament buildings. Much of Nairobi is green space, reflected in the popular name 'The Green City In The Sun', and Uhuru Park is merely one of many large, green areas, although it does feature a man-made lake. It is bordered by Ngong road, Haillesellasie Avenue, Uhuru Highway and Nyerere road.

The park is a well known as a centre for rallies, services and speeches, such as the 1996 burning of condoms to protest against their use by a group led by archbishop Maurice Michael Otunga, or the 2007 election-related riots which led to clashes between police and protestors just short of the park entrance. However, what makes Uhuru Park particularly famous is the struggle between Daniel arap Moi of the Kenya African National Union and Wangari Maathai. Moi wished to build the sixty-two storey KANU headquarters in the park; Maathai is held in high regard for her near single-handed efforts to save the park in 1989. She was successful, and in 2004 received the Nobel Peace Prize for this and other courageous efforts against the former oppressive Kenyan regime.

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