The High Court in Nairobi has overturned the decision to rename DikDik Road in Kileleshwa, Nairobi, after COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli.
The Nairobi County government renamed the street to Francis Atwoli Road in May 2021 in honour of the outspoken trade unionist.
A few days after the unveiling of signage by former Nairobi Deputy Governor Anne Kananu, unknown persons pulled it down and set it ablaze. However, a defiant Atwoli said the county government had reinstalled it and installed CCTV surveillance to deter vandalism.
On Monday, September 25, the court ruled that there had been a lack of public participation in the renaming process.
Justice Anthony Mrima declared that the decision made by the Nairobi County government on May 27, 2021, was unconstitutional because it did not seek the input of the residents before changing the road’s name.
The judge emphasized that if the county government chose to rename the road, it should have, at the very least, initiated a form of stakeholder engagement, as mandated by the constitution.
“By taking such actions, the Respondents clearly violated the constitutional principle of public participation, as delineated in Articles 10(2), 174, and 232(1)(d) and (h) of the Constitution.”
Justice Mrima additionally emphasized that Atwoli should have ensured that the decision to name the public road after him was in accordance with both the constitution and the law, once he became aware of it.
“Therefore, the decision to re-name the Dik Dik Road to Francis Atwoli Road by the Respondents is hereby quashed,” the court ruled.