Sh50 mil­lion ‘Kidero grass’ dries up as wa­ter­ing stops

The beau­ti­fi­ca­tion project in­cluded land­scap­ing and plant­ing grass be­tween the city cen­tre and the JKIA. Youths were hired to watch over the grass

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties - JULIUS OTIENO @juliu­so­tieno04

The Sh50 mil­lion ‘Kidero grass’ has been ne­glected and is fast dry­ing up.

The grass along ma­jor city roads was planted and fre­quently wa­tered last year ahead of the Global En­trepreneur­ship Sum­mit and US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s visit. But the grass and flow­ers have slowly with­ered af­ter City Hall stopped wa­ter­ing them, de­spite spend­ing mil­lions on the city beau­ti­fi­ca­tion project.

The project in­cluded land­scap­ing and plant­ing grass be­tween the city cen­tre and the Jomo Keny­atta In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

In Fe­bru­ary, the beau­ti­fi­ca­tion project won the Best Land­scap­ing Project tro­phy at this year’s Awards of Ex­cel­lence in Ar­chi­tec­ture by the Ar­chi­tec­tural As­so­ci­a­tion of Kenya.

A check by the Star yes­ter­day showed the grass and flow­ers have dried up, paths beaten on the grass and flowerbeds lit­tered.

Two weeks ago, En­vi­ron­ment ex­ec­u­tive Peter Ki­mori and chief of­fi­cer Chris­tine Ogut said the water points on the high­way had been van­dalised, but county re­paired them.

“All the nine water points on the Uhuru High­way are func­tional. The wa­ter­ing of the Kidero grass should not be a prob­lem. We should en­sure they are not van­dalised,” Ki­mori said.

Yes­ter­day, the two did not re­spond to our phone calls and mes­sages.

In Au­gust last year, the county hired more than 50 youths to guard the grass and the flower beds. They ar­rested any­body found lit­ter­ing or walk­ing on the grass.

On their first day of op­er­a­tion, the guards ar­rested 71 peo­ple.

Each per­son was charged Sh2,000 at the City Hall court.

Res­i­dents com­plained that most of them were ar­rested out­side the Univer­sity of Nairobi gate.

In­sid­ers said the county used to net about Sh10 mil­lion a week from fines of those found step­ping on the grass, lit­ter­ing and cross­ing the city roads at un­des­ig­nated places.

/PA­TRICK VIDIJA AND MONICAH MWANGI

Left: Green grass on the Uhuru High­way on Au­gust 6 last year. Right: A man walks on dry grass yes­ter­day

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