After two years of undergoing repairs, the Tom Mboya monument was finally unveiled on September 4.
Unlike when there was pomp and colour when the statue was first uncovered by President Mwai Kibaki on the eve of the first Mashujaa Day celebrations in October 2011, this time round there was no fanfare. Only a few city county officers were around to cart away the iron sheets that covered it while it was being refurbished after being vandalised by individuals.
The rehabilitation was initiated by the National Museums of Kenya after city residents complained that the monument had been neglected. The new look statue is much different from when it was first erected. It bears some new features like a huge coat of arms complete with colours of the National flag.
In a bid to keep off intruders, a two-metre high metallic fence has been erected around the statue of Mboya, Kenya’s independence hero who was assassinated just a few metres away from where the monument is, as he walked out of a chemist in 1969.
The low-key unveiling of the politician’s monument has not only elicited reactions on various platforms and some photographers who used to earn a living around the area are unhappy with the new look.
“The rehabilitation did not achieve much; people have not noticed the change, some beautiful features like flamingos were removed,” Allan Kibe, one of the photographers, told The Nairobian.
Traders in general are afraid that soon, street children and hooligans will destroy the monument like it happened before.
“The best way is to move this monument far away from the city centre. In fact, it should have been relocated to Uhuru Park or Central Park, millions of shillings will still be used to renovate it because nothing much was done to protect it,” said Dan Mutinda a trader
The renovation in 2020 was boosted by the National Sports Fund, which allocated Sh4m amid public outcry at the ‘high cost’.
Apart from street children, who had turned the area into a dumping site, football fans were also put on the spot for defacing the monument on their way to or from the stadium.
Other beneficiaries of the statue are pastors, comedians and companies carrying out promotions of different brands.