Leakey agency re­jects SGR route across park

In his ca­pac­ity as KWS chair­man, Richard Leakey has en­dorsed the con­tro­ver­sial route, say­ing it is the ‘best of the bad’ op­tions

The Star (Kenya) - - News - RAMADHAN RAJAB @Rra­jab

An or­gan­i­sa­tion founded by renowned con­ser­va­tion­ist and KWS chair­man Richard Leakey has joined groups op­pos­ing the stan­dard gauge rail­way route cut­ting through the Nairobi Na­tional Park.

Wildlife Di­rect has joined the ‘Save Nairobi Park, Rer­oute the SGR’ move­ment. Leakey, in his ca­pac­ity as the Kenya Wildlife Ser­vice chair­man, has en­dorsed the con­tro­ver­sial route, say­ing it as the “best of all the bad” al­ter­na­tives. He said it will cause the least dis­rup­tions. Ini­tially, the or­gan­i­sa­tion was silent, but its open op­po­si­tion could sound a blow to Ju­bilee’s flag­ship project.

Dur­ing the SGR-Nairobi Na­tional Park Dia­logue Fo­rum held last week at the Mul­ti­me­dia Univer­sity of Kenya, Wildlife Di­rect and 10 other or­gan­i­sa­tions voted against al­low­ing the line to cut through the park.

A re­port sent out to news­rooms on Fri­day stated par­tic­i­pants unan­i­mously op­posed the project through the park.

“The park is not an op­tion for the line and no con­struc­tion should go on un­til all is­sues are re­solved,” the re­port said. The con­ser­va­tion­ist groups called on the gov­ern­ment to re­spect the court or­der bar­ring fur­ther ac­tiv­i­ties on the project. “We should adopt the route sug­gested by the Friends of Nairobi Na­tional Park, which avoids go­ing through the park, and have di­ver­sion of trains from Konza City or Athi River next to the EPZ,” the fo­rum said in the re­port.

The re­port will be com­plied and de­liv­ered to Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta and all agen­cies im­ple­ment­ing the project this week. Fon­nap has been push­ing to have the line di­verted from Konza City, fur­ther south be­hind Kiten­gela town. It rec­om­mends that the route then run down to Isinya, then to Corner Baridi and to Ngong.

In De­cem­ber last year, a pro­posed de­sign had shown the line run­ning along the South­ern By­pass near the Car­ni­vore Restau­rant then pass through the Hyena Dam.

/PA­TRICK VIDIJA

Kenya Wildlife Ser­vice chair­man Richard Leakey with En­vi­ron­ment CS Judi Wakhungu on Septem­ber 16

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