Nairobi (Kenya) – June 30, 2015 – The Kenyan government is building an ambitious new railway, new Standard Gauge railway (SGR) that is badly needed in the country. However, earlier plans for the track to follow the northern edge of Nairobi Park, were appealed by an individual, and the government is now considering re-aligning the route so that the train track will slice across the unique Nairobi National Park cutting off many acres of prime rhino habitat. This re-alignment is for the benefit of one person only – to avoid destroying a building, Heritage House, that was declared a national heritage a few months ago. Heritage House is not a National Heritage, it is a personal property of one Alan Donovan.
Alan Donovan (American) is the owner of old Heritage House, a building constructed in the style of a West African home. It was built only 21 yeas ago. He claims that he has filled his home with African artifacts collected from around Africa (We are not aware if these artifacts are authentic nor if they were collected legally or ethically). We recognize that Alan Donovan is attached to his beautiful home and properties, however it is our view that his personal assets cannot be compared to or valued as National Heritage comparable to a National Park.
At risk of destruction is the spectacular Nairobi National Park, gazetted in 1946, 17 years before Kenya’s independence. It is 59 years old, is the oldest park in Eastern Africa and is the ONLY WILDLIFE PARK INSIDE A CAPITAL CITY. Nairobi Park is home to over 40 wild lions, is a globally important rhino sanctuary, has hundreds of giraffe, buffalo and over 1,500 species of birds. President Jomo Kenyatta, the First President of Kenya promised to conserve Kenya’s priceless heritage for posterity. The Nairobi National Park is a vital piece of Kenya’s National Heritage and has global importance. We urge the Government of Kenya to reconsider protecting an individual’s property at the cost of the nation’s heritage.
This petition is to the President of Kenya, the Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, the Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, the Chairman of the Kenya Wildlife Service. We have two requests
1. Halt the current plans to realign the railway, and instead revive the previous plans for the Standard Gauge Railway alignment which follows the northern boundary of the park and is adjacent to the existing railway.
2. Compensate Alan Donovan so that he can dismantle and rebuild Heritage House elsewhere, or fence his property into the park and make it a national museum for public access.
We urge people of Kenya and friends from all around the world to sign the petition now to save Nairobi National Park! We need to urgently deliver this petition directly to CS. Professor Judi Wakhungu and to Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of the Republic of Kenyan government.
Read more about it and sign it here: