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Let’s pay for the air we breathe, for Arboretum is clean and hale

By Peter Kimani | March 7th 2014

By Peter Kimani

I recently received a letter from the Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, inviting me to the launch of Jeevanjee Park’s rehabilitation programme.

It was a very touching gesture, for I have not been invited to anything by anyone in years. Unsurprisingly, his invite arrived in a torn envelope, which I suspect was the handiwork of adui wa maendeleo (enemies of development) who cannot help but wonder what a whole governor would be doing inviting a scribe to his functions.

Skipped function

Suffice it to say I skipped the fete not because I did not care about the park or that I was too busy to attend; it just escaped my mind.

Now, since we are on “talking” terms with the Governor, there is a matter that I would like to bring to his attention. I live on the fringes of the Nairobi Arboretum, and so consider the forest an extension of my home.

Many more Kenyans consider it their home and trek there religiously to play or pray; others just sit there and explore the space.  The young man of the house enjoys riding his bike there.

But last month, fees were introduced at the gate – for the first time in the decades of the park’s existence. Every adult pays Sh50 and children are charged Sh20.

I’m not sure whether it is county or national government pocketing the loot. But considering the governor’s appetite for collecting public funds, I think he can make more from the Arboretum by charging neighbouring homes for the clean air they breathe.

I would be the first one to pay.

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