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Environment: The Greening of Nairobi and Possible Land Grabbing at Mt. Kenya

There is some good news and bad news coming out of Kenya. The good news is the greening of the capital city Nairobi, and the bad news is the unfolding situation where possible land grabbing is taking place around Mt. Kenya. We will be looking at these stories in this issue of GV environment.

Beginning with the good news, Bankelele reports on the October 17th leadership forum where John Gakuo, the town clerk of Nairobi city spoke; “John Gakuo:Restoring Nairobi's Glory.”

Like former Mayor (and now Presidential Candidate) Rudy Giuliani did for New York in the mid 1990’s, John Gakuo, the town clerk of the City Council of Nairobi, is credited with the clean up of the city, making it a cleaner, safer, and a more beautiful place to visit.

The post is exhaustive in covering the aspects of change, such as lighting, parks, staffing, and the strategies employed by Mr. Gakuo in greening the city of Nairobi.

He gave his talk on the challenge of effective resource management and began by saying that resources were not the key to change, noting that some countries with abundant mineral resources, have their citizens living in extreme poverty, while others with less resources, have prudently managed what they have to achieve great things. And that was the theme of his talk – use what you have to get what you want

The success he has had at city hall has been though effective resource management and he decried leaders who use the ‘we have no money’ excuse for not doing things, noting that they should solve problems in other ways

To see the results of Mr. Gakuo's initiatives we go to the blogger and photographer egm, who posts pictures of Nairobi showing the beautiful central park, that serves as a great recreational area for the public and also as a habitat for animals as shown below.
Jeevanjee Gardens

Monkey at park
Egm also provided Globalvoices with pictures showing the planting of trees by John Gakuo's city council on the streets of Nairobi.
Greening of Nairobi streets

And now the not-so-good news: from the blog of Richard Leakey, the celebrated paleontologist invites Ali Kaka the Executive director of East African Wildlife society to give an update on the fence realignment away from a gazetted section of Mount Kenya forest area. The post “Fencing and fears of land grabbing at Mt. Kenya” includes an aerial photograph showing the fence that cordons off part of the forest. What this means for animals and the surrounding mount Kenya area is also included, with Ali Kaka stating

We estimate the area of forest that is being left out is about 3,000 acres. It is part of the original forest gazettment of the Mt Kenya World heritage site. Implications for conservation are primarily the loss of mature natural forest and threat to vital water catchment for this part of Mt Kenya – major river is the Burguret river with several tributaries that lead into the Burguret will be outside the new fence. For elephants it is important as important salt licks are also outside the fence. It is believed that the elephants on Mt Kenya are limited by nutrients hence their dependence on mineral deposits at various places around the mountain and if they loose access to these this is likely to limit population growth – the theory needs more research but it may explain why they are so dependent on these rich mineral areas.

More updates on this story will be available on Richard Leakey's blog.

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