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Nairobi County Assembly approve motion to rename City road to late Yussuf Haji

By Josephat Thiong'o | March 4th 2021
Late Garissa Senator Yussuf Haji

First Avenue lane in Eastleigh Nairobi will in the next two weeks be renamed to Yussuf Haji road in honour of the late Garissa Senator.

This is after the Nairobi County Assembly on Tuesday approved a motion calling on the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) and City Hall to work together to name or rename a road in the capital after the late Senator Haji in recognition of his efforts in public service during his 55 years of service to the Nation.

The motion by majority leader Abdi Guyo was given the nod by the assembly even as the MCAs described Haji as a firm, knowledgeable, humble but efficient leader who dedicated his life to public service and one whose name should be firmly etched in the annals of Kenyan history.

Haji died last month at the Aga Khan hospital in Nairobi. He was 80 years old.

“Even before coming up with this motion I had already deliberations with the NMS and the Mohammed Badi-led institution is now set to rename Eastleigh’s First Avenue to Yussuf Haji road in the next two weeks,” said Guyo.

The Majority leader hailed Haji for his peace efforts in Somalia and beyond during his stint as the Minister of State for Defense in 2002 and for his exceptional negotiations and strategic mediation skills – attributes which saw the Senator called upon to steward the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), a task that Guyo said Haji took on with earnest zeal and delivered a noteworthy constitutional Bill.

“Aware that the naming of roads and other public places after heroes and heroines bestows honor and shows our collective gratitude as a Nation, this assembly resolves that the NMS names or renames a road in recognition of the late Senator Yusuf haji in recognition of his immeasurable contribution to the prosperity and well being of Kenyans during his 55-year record of public service,” stated the motion.

Guyo went on to note that Haji’s rise to the top from a public administration officer, to Ijara constituency MP, to assistant Minister in the office of the President, Minister of state for cabinet affairs in 2002 then Minister of State for Defense and later as acting Minister of internal security and Provincial affairs as inspirational and an ode to his immense contribution to National good.

Minority Chief Whip Peter Imwatok supported the motion, arguing that naming a road after a man who changed the country would be a plus.

“Sometimes we do not assimilate ourselves with the current roads named in the city. There are names on these roads today that we do not know whether it is a road, an animal an imagination or a ghost but giving Yussuf Haji a road that is known will be a plus for this country,” said Imwatok.

Adding that the County ought to strive to make sure that Haji is recognised in Nairobi where he lived for half of his life while undertaking public service.

“He deserves it because of his role in settling historical issues such as the issues of Somalia, the 1990 clashes and the issues of making sure that the BBI was a reality. We want a road and not a lane named after Haji so that it is known that this is a road named after a man who changed this country,” he stated while simultaneously calling for the recognition of other leaders that were still alive such as the former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Finance and Budget committee chairperson Robert Mbatia said that having worked with the late Senator in the year 2011, he was able to experience first hand the knowledge and wisdom of Haji.

“He was very firm and a strict timekeeper. Having been chosen by the two principles- Raila and Uhuru Kenyatta- to be at the forefront of the BBI initiative shows that he was trusted. If we continue to honor these leaders then our children will pick their positive attributes in future,” said Mbatia.

MCA Mary Arivitsa said that it was not enough to rename a road after him and that there was a need to put up a hall of fame/museum where great leaders would be honored.

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