Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga could be the latest public figure to have a road in Nairobi named after him should county assembly members pass a motion backing the move sponsored by Minority Whip Peter Imwatok.
The motion, whose notice was tabled last week and is set to be moved this week, wants Mbagathi Way renamed Raila Odinga Road, ostensibly in recognition of the former prime minister’s contribution to the growth of the country by championing good governance, democratic ideals and development of infrastructure.
Mr Imwatok (Makongeni, ODM) noted that it was under the leadership of the former Lang’ata MP’s tenure as Roads and Public Works minister in 2005 that plans to rebuild Mbagathi Way were mooted. The second-term ward rep added that Mr Odinga has also fought for democracy, good governance, and the rule of law against many odds, leading to his detention without trial for 10 years.
“[We should] appreciate deserving leaders while they are still alive [rather than] when they die,” said Mr Imwatok. He said Mr Odinga had continued with his selfless service to the country by brokering peace between himself and both former President Mwai Kibaki and current President Uhuru Kenyatta, which had seen him get international recognition.
He further pointed out that Mr Odinga’s development track record saw him recognised by the African Union by being appointed its high representative for infrastructure development.
“It pains me that people who didn't do anything to impact the society positively are being appreciated more than those who sacrificed including by giving their own life for the good of our country,” said Mr Imwatok.
This is not the first time that politicians are fronting the idea of having Mbagathi Way named after Mr Odinga. In June, Kangema MP Muturi Kigano, the National Assembly’s Justice and Legal Affairs Committee chairman, had made a similar suggestion. This year alone, three roads have been renamed by City Hall.
In March, Eastleigh First Avenue Lane was renamed Mohammed Yusuf Haji Avenue in honour of the former Garissa Senator who died in February.
Kapiti Crescent Road in South B was renamed in honour of football legend Joe Kadenge while Accra Road was renamed after “second liberation” hero Kenneth Matiba. A motion calling for renaming of a road after a prominent person must first be passed by the assembly.
The Implementation Committee then writes to the county executive communicating the approval of the motion, which implements the request or rejects it. In May, Governor Ann Kananu renamed Dik Dik Road in Kileleshwa after trade unionist Francis Atwoli.
However, the move elicited condemnation with the signage being pulled down on several occasions.