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Lawyers petition parliament to rename Lake Victoria and other historical sites

By Paul Ogemba | August 1st 2020

Two lawyers are seeking the renaming of Lake Victoria claiming the English name is a sign of slavery.

Lawyers Wambugu Wanjohi and Kariuki Karanja, through a petition filed at the National Assembly, want the country to free itself from colonial ties.

The two want MPs to approve the renaming of Kenya’s historical sites, landmarks, streets, buildings and monuments that bear the identity of British colonialists to the original African names.

They argue that the British names still signify colonialism almost 60 years after Kenya gained independence and should be done away with.

Colonial names

“Before the occupation by colonialists, the indigenous communities were organised and governed by their traditions. They had respect for the environment and other natural resources as most of them were considered sacred and used as shrines which were later blacked out by the colonial names,” they said.

Apart from Lake Victoria, they also want Thomsons Falls in Nyahururu, the Aberdare Range in Mt Kenya and other natural resources which bear British and English names to be renamed in accordance with local cultures.

The lawyers argue that the Constitution recognises cultures as the foundation of the nation and that it is illegal to continue using the colonial names.

According to the lawyers, there was an attempt by the first Kenyan Parliament to revert the names to original identities but they could not fully agree.

Among those they say were renamed are Lake Turkana which changed from Lake Rudolf in 1975, Lake Bogoria which was known as Lake Hannington and Webuye Town which was called Broderick Falls.

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