Kenya: Eastleigh's First Avenue to Be Renamed Yusuf Haji Road

First Avenue in Nairobi's Eastleigh estate will in the next two weeks be renamed Yusuf Haji Road in honour of the late Garissa senator.

This follows the approval on Tuesday by the Nairobi County Assembly of a motion calling for renaming of a road in Nairobi in honour of the late former Defence minister.

Nairobi County Assembly Majority Leader Abdi Guyo, the mover of the motion, said discussions were held with the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) over the process, with the Major General Mohamed Badi-led administration settling on the road in Eastleigh.

"This (the renaming) will be effected in the next two weeks because we are already in agreement with NMS. It was something that we had discussed even before we brought the motion so it will be implemented. NMS has identified First Avenue in Eastleigh," said Mr Guyo.

Fitting tribute

The Matopeni Ward MCA said the move will be a fitting tribute to a man who selflessly served Kenya in various positions for 55 years before his passing on.

Mzee Haji died last month aged 80 years.

Mr Guyo described the late senator as a man of high standing in the society whose spirit of servant-leadership is admired not only by Nairobi leaders but by most politicians across the country.

The majority leader hailed Mr Haji for his peace efforts in Somalia and beyond during his stint as the Minister for Defence in 2002 and for his exceptional negotiations and mediation skills, attributes which saw him tapped to lead the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) taskforce.

No small feat

"The service the late senator rendered to this country is enough for him to be honoured. Haji's rise to the top from a public administration officer, Ijara MP, to assistant minister and later a minister is no small feat," he said.

Minority Whip Peter Imwatok said Nairobi, being a place where Mzee Haji lived for half of his life while undertaking public service tasks, must not forget one of its illustrious public servants.

"We want a road and, not a lane, named after Haji so that it is known that this is a road named after a man who changed this country," said Mr Imwatok.

Kariobangi South MCA Robert Mbatia remembered Mr Haji as a firm and strict time keeper, having worked with him in 2011.

Strict time keeper

"He was very firm and a strict time keeper. If we continue to honour these leaders, then our children will pick their positive attributes in future," said Mbatia.

Nominated MCA Mary Arivitsa said that it is not enough to rename a road after Mr Haji and that there is need to put up a hall of fame or a museum where great leaders can be honoured.

A number of roads in Nairobi have been renamed in honour of men and women of great standing in the country including Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai, Cardinal Maurice Otunga and Charles Rubia among others.

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