The mere mention of Muliro Gardens often evokes memories of a 2011 saga where photos and videos of couples making out in the park went viral.
The photos lit up social media, sparking criticism from far and wide, forcing church leaders to visit the site to cleanse it with anointing oil and prayers.
Sex workers, couples and perverts had turned the bamboo benches in gardens into beds and used the park as a love nest for daylight romps.
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Even students from local secondary schools would make out on the Muliro Gardens benches. Stories were told of couples parting with between Sh50 and Sh250 to access the gardens for sex sessions.
The money would be given to unscrupulous businessmen who would use street urchins as their lookouts for their ‘clandestine customers’.
After the park underwent renovations, the benches are nolonger there.
In their place are paved walkways cutting through the garden with two giant gates, running water, dustbins and manicured gardens with indigenous trees that have replaced a bamboo forest that occupied a large section of the gardens.
Muliro Gardens is now set for re-opening to the public after undergoing a Sh61 million face lift funded by the World Bank through the Kenya Urban Support Programme.
Pedestal is ready
The recreational park that sits on 6.5 acres within the Central Business District is adjacent to Kakamega County headquarters and was named after the fiery politician, Masinde Muliro.
It is now strictly under 24-hour surveillance by county askaris.
“We have already given the contract for casting a golden statue of Masinde Muliro and its pedestal is ready,” said Robert Makhanu, the County Executive Committee Member in charge of Land, Housing, Urban Areas and Physical Planning.
At the same time, Mukhanu said no prayers or religious and political gatherings will be conducted at the gardens, adding that only those coming from ceremonies like weddings, university graduations and those celebrating their birthdays will be allowed for brief photo shoots in the gardens.
Meetings of between 5 and 10 people will be allowed in the park upon approval by Muliro Gardens Management Committee.
“No vehicles will be parked in the gardens as we have reserved a parking lot for visitors. We are in the process of building a cafeteria and an eco-toilet. This is to keep unscrupulous businessmen at bay,” Makhanu said.