Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja came under intense criticism after he reportedly announced plans to import fully grown trees from Malaysia.
The first-time governor made the remarks during an inspection tour of Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) on Wednesday, November 16.
Sakaja indicated that the fully grown palm trees would be imported and planted along Harambee Avenue in the CBD.
“We are going to bring fully grown trees. We will get palm trees from Malaysia that will be planted at Harambee avenue and other areas,” Sakaja stated.
Fully grown palm trees along a street in Nairobi.
Flickr Planting the fully grown palm trees was touted to align with his plan of greening the city and tackling climate change in the country.
Palm trees are famous in the Coastal region. However, they have gained prominence, with many developers incorporating them for landscaping projects.
His statement elicited mixed reactions from Kenyans online. A section of Kenyans online castigated the governor, arguing that the idea of importing fully grown trees was misplaced and unnecessary.
They argued that the governor should promote local farmers in his city greening projects.
“Even trees to be imported from Malaysia, what a good country,” Abuu 254 wrote on Twitter.
Another social media user expressed concern that the trees may dry up like Nairobi Expressway flowers and grass.
Sakaja was further faulted for his plan to import trees with Kenyans online, arguing that the move would be costly to the taxpayers.
“How much will that cost? Is that money not enough to relocate street families?” the Duke of Lakeshire wondered.
However, a section of Kenyans applauded the governor, stating that the plan would restore Nairobi’s lost glory.
Sakaja was also put to task to explain how he intended to protect the trees across the cases, with cases of clearing bushes along highways common.
“Accompanying such developments should be laws to protect these public investments. It is common that a new administration may knock down these trees in future for other newer developments! But it is how Governments work,” Kabila Mboya questioned Sakaja.
Earlier, Sakaja had indicated that he was planning to empower the youth by incorporating them into the tree planting exercise.
His sentiments came months after uproar over the cutting down and pruning of trees in Nairobi.
“Our work is to create opportunities for our young people. Of course, we have re-designed the Kazi Mtaani programme but we are starting a greening programme together with the KFS and the National Governent, These young people will be able to work four days in a week and get about Ksh2,400 and put it into something meaningful,” Sakaja stated while addressing cases of increased crime in the city.
Nairobi Governor, Johnson Sakaja addresses the media on November 4, 2022.