It’s back to Dik Dik after court overturns renaming of road after Atwoli

Residents of Dik Dik Gardens in Kileleshwa, Nairobi, this week got back their original road name and signage, months after the High Court quashed the decision to rename it after Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) secretary-general Francis Atwoli.

Justice Anthony Mrima said the decision, taken by the Nairobi County government on May 27, 2021, violated the Constitution because residents’ views were not sought before the name was changed.

The judge said that once the county government had decided to rename the road, the least it could have done was to call for some form of stakeholder engagement as required by the Constitution.

By not doing so, the respondents were in clear breach of the constitutional principle of public participation as enshrined in Articles 10(2), 174 and 232(1)(d) and (h) of the Constitution.

Justice Mrima further said that once Mr Atwoli was informed of the decision to name the public road after him, he should have ensured that the decision was in accordance with the Constitution and the law.

“Therefore, the decision to rename the Dik Dik Road to Francis Atwoli Road by the Respondents is hereby quashed,” Justice Mrima said.

The residents of Dik Dik Gardens, led by their representatives, Mr Arnold Kipkoti, Mr Adrian Kanchoro Mulata and Mr Anuj Rajani, went to court challenging the county’s decision.

The residents said the road is used and maintained by them and members of the public who visit the estate.

In June 2021, the Atwoli sign was burnt but was reinstated days later.

The sign has been missing since September 2023, after the court ruled that it was illegal.

The court was told that Mr Atwoli, who owns a house on the estate and is a member of the association, was involved in or aware that the road to the estate was collectively called Dik Dik Road by the residents.

During the trial, Nairobi County opposed the case and asked the court to dismiss it.

In an affidavit, Eric Abwao Odhiambo, the Acting County Solicitor for the Nairobi City County Government, said it was virtually impossible to conduct public participation in the renaming of the road.

Mr Atwoli, on the other hand, said he was also unaware of any obligation on the part of the Nairobi City County Government to publish any proposed changes to roads in the Kenya Gazette.

He explained how he had accepted the county’s invitation to rename Dik Dik Road after him in recognition of his long and distinguished service in the labour industry. He urged the court to dismiss the case.

He denied hiring thugs to protect the signs and claimed that he was merely a beneficiary of the county government’s internal process of renaming Dik Dik Road, a process that falls squarely within its purview.

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