Balala tells off Joho's critics - Daily Nation

Balala tells off critics of Joho’s city beautification programme

Sunday February 10 2019

Kibarani recreation park

A visitor at the new Kibarani recreation park touches a statue of a Wildebeest erected on an artificial turf in this picture taken on February 4, 2019. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By WINNIE ATIENO
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The national government has lauded the ongoing beautification project in Mombasa that has seen the city adorned with sculptures of wild animals.

The once garbage-infested tourism hub has turned into a beautiful site with major roundabouts adorned with bronze sculptures of wild animals sitting on artificial grass.

The phenomenon has been a major attraction for locals and tourists.

Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala now says Governor Hassan Joho should be commended for his ongoing city beautification project that has turned around the scenery of the former filthy Kibarani dumpsite into a beautiful site.

UPROAR

The regeneration of the dumpsite and major roads in the city has elicited an uproar among environmentalists and some tourism players not happy with use of artificial turf and sculptures at the former dumpsite.

Mr Benson Wemali, a certified environmental inspector, said the artificial turf was hazardous as it would suppress the ecosystem, that stretches into the Indian Ocean.

“They are also interfering with the soil there. Kibarani was a dumpsite and is very fertile for natural grass and flowers to grow. If we are to have a recreational park then it should be natural,” said Mr Wemali.

Tourism Federation of Kenya chairman Mohammed Hersi also joined the bandwagon, saying the county got it wrong on use of the artificial turf.

“What would a reindeer that is not even indigenous to Africa, let alone Mombasa, be doing at Kibarani? Please, simplicity is key in life. You started very well. Dumpsite closed, trees planted and you watered them growing really well. Turf & Sculptures is a NO,” said Mr Hersi on his Twitter handle.

ENGAGEMENT

But speaking to the Nation, the CS told off the tourism players for condemning the governor. He urged them to seek audience with Mr Joho on the matter.

“Appreciate initiatives in good faith. If you have an issue, why can’t you engage? The governor and I have an open-door policy and the Tourism Association should not think they will use social media to intimidate people,” said the CS.

Though the artificial grass may not be the appropriate material to be used in the regeneration, those concerned ought to engage the governor and give solutions and alternatives, Mr Balala pointed out.