Governor Oparanya opens Muliro Gardens after a Sh61million facelift

Governor Oparanya officially opens the refurbished Masinde Muliro recreation park in Kakamega town on December 23, 2020. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Residents of Kakamega will have the opportunity to use the ‘infamous’ Muliro Gardens again this festive season.

Governor Wycliffe Oparanya opened the gates of the facility which has been renovated at a cost of Sh61 million.

People are free to visit, relax and have fun at the recreational park located within Kakamega Central Business District.

It had been closed for renovations that took almost three years, thanks to joint efforts by the World Bank which gave out the funds through the Kenya Urban Support Programme (KUSP) for the works.

Sudi Lane which passes near the recreational facility was also upgraded to bitumen standards complete with a taxi parking well fitted with cabros.

The mention of the park 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.

Even teenagers, especially voluptuous college, university and even students from local secondary schools within the town with thermonuclear blasts of lust would make out at the infamous Muliro benches.

Kakamega county Executive Committee Member in charge of Land, Housing, Urban Areas and Physical planning Robert Mukhanu (right), Governor Oparanya and other officials at the refurbished Masinde Muliro recreation park. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

The couples could part with between Sh50 and Sh250 paid to access the gardens for a 10 to 30-minute session.

The money would be given to unscrupulous businessmen who would use street urchins as their lookouts for their ‘clandestine customers’.

But the renovation works saw the particular benches removed and the bamboo thicket cut down.

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.

Governor Oparanya, while opening the park to the public said that it sits on 6.5 acres within the Central Business District, adjacent to Kakamega County headquarters. It was named after the fiery politician, Masinde Muliro.

The park is now strictly under 24-hour surveillance by county askaris.

“We welcome anyone visiting Kakamega County and even the locals to the new-look garden that has been spruced up and is ideal for relaxing. Running water is available and comfortable benches have been erected,” said Oparanya.

Oparanya said the statue of the late Masinde Muliro and its pedestal is ready and will be installed soon.

Earlier, Robert Makhanu, the County Executive Committee Member in charge of Land, Housing, Urban Areas and Physical Planning said no prayers or religious and political gatherings would be conducted at the gardens.

Makhanu said that only those coming from ceremonies like weddings, university graduations and those celebrating their birthdays would be allowed for brief photo shoots in the garden.

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.