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Viewpoint: Why Kenya’s giant fig tree won over a president

Viewpoint: Why Kenya's giant


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In our arrangement of letters from African columnists, media and correspondence coach Joseph Warungu takes a gander at the force trees appear to have over Kenyan lawmakers.

Governments are not generally known to tune in to their kin.

On the off chance that they did, the roads of Uganda’s capital, Kampala, would not have been loaded up with so much savagery as of late as the solid arm of government poured down blows on its kin to quiet the voices requesting change in the midst of their appointive season.

Medics performing coronavirus tests in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya - October 2020

In Kenya, individuals have been begging government and legislators to help stop the spread of Covid-19, by deserting their political conventions pointed toward convincing individuals to underwrite a potential protected choice.

Doctors performing Covid tests in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya – October 2020

In the event that the submission feels free to be affirmed by the individuals, it will permit a significant change to the constitution, that will rebuild control and make more political workplaces, remembering an enormous increment for the quantity of chose parliamentarians – all to the detriment of the citizen.

Legislators in the administering party just as the resistance, which likewise backs the choice, wouldn’t tune in, with enormous assemblies lately pulling in immense groups, including numerous individuals who had surrendered their face veils.

This has been accused for the stressing Covid-19 circumstance in Kenya where Covid contaminations have shot up with a lot a larger number of individuals biting the dust now than in earlier months.

In this way, it came as a major stun to Kenyans when one tree talked and the public authority tuned in.

However, it is no common tree.

Joseph Warungu in front of Nairobi's famous fig tree

The superb fig tree, which is 100 years of age and pinnacles over a segment of Waiyaki Way in the west of Nairobi, had been condemned to death to clear a path for a freeway that is under development.

The 27km (16-mile) street will connect the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport toward the Westlands territory of Nairobi, joining Waiyaki Way, the primary street that prompts western Kenya and Uganda.

‘Signal of social legacy’

Nobody very knows why precisely the president changed the brain of government and gave an announcement to save the fig tree.

  • An aeronautical perspective on the fig tree, Nairobi, Kenya – October 2020
  • He basically portrayed it as a “reference point of Kenya’s social and environmental legacy”.
  • Without a doubt, the tree has colossal social and strict hugeness for Bantu-talking networks.

A few areas of the Luhya people group in western Kenya, for example, the Maragoli, love the “mukumu” or fig tree. It was customarily a court under whose branches, cases would be heard and controlled by seniors. Fig trees are additionally utilized as tourist spots in Maragoliland.

Sign to move power

For the Kikuyu individuals of focal Kenya, the most crowded ethnic gathering in the nation, the fig tree known as “mugumo” has customarily been an altar, a position of love and forfeits.

The Kikuyu don’t permit a fig tree to be chopped down – they accept such a demonstration could spell debacle.

An aerial view of the fig tree, Nairobi, Kenya - October 2020

At the point when a fig tree wilts or tumbles to the ground normally, the Kikuyu consider it to be a terrible sign or a sign to move power from one conventional age set or age to the following. Every age rules for around 30 years.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is himself Kikuyu, may have been the carrier of some awful news for Kenyans in his political life, however I don’t know he liked worrying about the social and otherworldly concern of a dead mugumo tree.

While hippies crusaded to stop the obliteration of the tree, Kikuyu conservatives watched anxiously and remained with the tree and against the demolition of their way of life.

This isn’t the first occasion when that a difficult government has been halted abruptly essentially as it endeavored to dissolve the climate.

In the last part of the 1980s the then decision party – the Kenya African National Union – thought of a fabulous arrangement to manufacture a monstrous high rise as its central command in Nairobi’s acclaimed Uhuru Park.

  • Campaigners before the fig tree in Nairobi, Kenya – October 2020

At 60 stories, the Times Media Complex with workplaces, shopping centers and leaving for many vehicles, would have been the tallest structure in the East Africa district.

Campaigners in front of the fig tree in Nairobi, Kenya - October 2020

Tree huggers drove by the late Nobel Peace Prize laureate Prof Wangari Maathai dispatched a mission to battle the structure and spare the recreation center.

Eventually, Daniel arap Moi, who was then president, hesitantly tuned in to the voice of Uhuru Park and its trees.

Without display, the high rise was rejected and today numerous inhabitants of Nairobi actually have a tranquil green space for family excursions and picnics.

  • ‘Chinese bewilderment’
  • The Waiyaki Way fig tree also can inhale simple as it has likewise been saved.
  • At the point when I visited the site this week, the laborers had drawn designs for how the channels they were burrowing would skirt around it.
  • A channel being worked around the fig tree in Nairobi, Kenya

One cab driver let me know: “After the president’s pronouncement, the Chinese [contractor] came, gazed at the tree, gazed at the passage that was intended to slice through the tree and left shaking his head.”

The Chinese may have considered what sort of incredible language the mugumo tree addressed power designing to stop, tune in and diversion.

The Kikuyu word for tree is “muti” and they utilize a similar word for polling form.

The fig tree has won the vote to remain alive and keep the Chinese-financed interstate under control.

A trench being built around the fig tree in Nairobi, Kenya

Numerous Kenyans wish a lot more trees will stand up and vote “no” to childish political moves that could imperil lives in a period of Covid – and their pockets if the choice passes.

  • In any case, will the public authority tune in?
  • How about we trust that the trees will talk.