Fidel Odinga
Fidel Odinga

Muslims for Human Rights will lobby for the renaming of Fidel Odinga Road in Nyali, chairperson Khelef Khalifa has said.

This comes amid a Wednesday public hearing organised by Mombasa MCAs to rename Mama Ngina Waterfront Park to ‘a name significant to Mombasa’.

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho renamed Nyali Road Fidel Odinga Road in 2016 in memory of ODM leader Raila Odinga’s son who died in January 2015.

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Khalifa said Kenya’s first First Lady does not have a historical connection to Mombasa town.

“What do the names Mama Ngina and Fidel Odinga have to do with Mombasa? They do not have any connection to this city.”

The activist told the Star by phone that they will go after Fidel Odinga Road and all other areas named after people with no historical connection to the coastal town.

They want the park to be renamed either Mombasa Waterfront Park, Mzimule or Mekatilili Waterfront Park.

“All these names are significant to Mombasa,” Khalifa said.

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He was cautious that they will not impose names on the people of Mombasa.

“We called for the public hearing (today) so that Mombasa residents will give us their names and proposal.”

Last November, the Okoa Mombasa Coalition – made up of several civil society organisations – petitioned the county assembly to change the name of the Sh460 million Mama Ngina Waterfront Park.

The park was opened by President Uhuru Kenyatta on October 20, last year, during the Mashujaa Day celebrations.

Khalifa was among Kenyans who fought the land grabbing of the park during the presidency of late Daniel Moi in the late ’90s.

He said he was labelled “a mad man” for opposing Moi who wanted the park subdivided.

“That is the time Moi put a lot of pressure on the Municipal Council of Mombasa to allocate the land to two churches,” Khalifa said.

He said the Special Branch threatened to throw him into the water at Nyali Bridge.

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Last year, the National Land Commission revoked title deeds of several companies and individuals that had been allocated plots in the 26-acre Indian Ocean frontage.

A new title deed was handed to the Ministry of Tourism which is mandated to manage the park.

Charles Mghenyi/The Star

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