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Rename Mbagathi way to Raila Odinga road

By Odoyo Owidi | July 3rd 2021

ODM leader Raila Odinga at his residence in Karen, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Until 1901, Moi Avenue was known as First Station Road, since it was home to the railway station. When government offices increased along the road, it was renamed government road. It was later renamed Moi avenue when President Daniel arap Moi came to power.

Similarly, Kenyatta Avenue used to be known as Sixty Avenue before being renamed Lord Delemare avenue in 1932. It was named Kenyatta avenue in honour of Kenya’s first president Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

Many roads, which had colonial names have since been renamed after prominent Kenyans who have made huge contributions to the nation in different sectors. Trade unionist ‘Ndugu’ Francis Atwoli was recently included in this list. Many are done when the persons are still alive.

Today, there are many roads named after people who have arguably contributed much less, yet real heroes are yet to be considered. For instance, former President Mwai Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga deserve more. Other great Kenyans with their names on street are freedom fighter field marshal Dedan Kimathi, Tom Mboya, Muindi Mbingu, Mama Ngina Kenyatta, General Waruinge, James Gichuru, Ronald Ngala and Argwings Kodhek, among others.

One Kenyan who deserves a street to his name is Raila Amolo Odinga. He has earned praise from all political persuasions. He has put his life, strength, health, wealth and freedom on the line for the ordinary Kenyan. Together with his family, he has suffered for Kenya without bitterness.

In 2005, as the minister for roads and public works, Raila conceived, planned and implemented construction of the Mbagathi way concrete road amid resistance due to the high costs involved. He argued with foresight that in the long run this road will be the most cost-effective. It has come to pass and today Kenyans appreciate it. Mbagathi way is a 15-year-old busy road without a single pothole, thanks to Raila.  If we had done all major roads using this technology, we would not be repairing them.

Mbagathi way’s history cannot be written without mentioning Raila’s name. This road also formed the boundary of his political base, Kibra constituency. The enigma deserves to be celebrated while he is still able to celebrate with us just like Jomo and Moi. He should be present as we hoist the road sign at the T-Mall junction.

-The writer is Lake Basin Authority chairman



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