The barrier had allegedly been erected on a public road by a private developer causing public outcry led by the then Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja
Removal of the barrier allows free movement of people and vehicles and motorbikes in and out of the area
If you have ever visited Arboretum Park in Nairobi using State House Road, you are probably aware of a barrier erected along Arboretum Park Lane near Radisson Blu Hotel and Residence, Nairobi Arboretum.
This controversial barrier was erected a year after the Radisson Hotel Group-owned facility was opened in 2019 with the aim of controlling movement of people and traffic within the area for security reasons.
Apart from the hotel, other facilities in the community include Kenya Forest Service, State House, State House Primary School, State House Nursery, State House Clinic, Kenya Girl Guides Association and Jabali Elementary School.
Barrier as initially erected near the hotel.
You might have been subjected to security screening by G4S guards manning this post just a few meters to the hotel entrance. Vehicles and motorcycles going into and past the hotel are stopped after which the security officers perform security checks before allowing or denying access with the most affected being bodaboda riders who in most cases are denied entry, forcing their passengers to alight and walk in.
Picking and dropping of passengers by riders past this point is prohibited except for a few cases including staff working within the area and school going children. All those going for recreational activities at the Park are dropped at the barrier after which they walk a distance of about 300 meters.
However, a new directive by the County Government of Nairobi has led to the removal of the barrier allowing for free movement in and out of the Arboretum, a public recreational facility.
Motor vehicles and motorcycle operators can now pass freely without security check.
One of the guards who spoke to the writer on request of anonymity said, “Officials whom I suspect are from the county government visited the area end of last week and proceeded to meet with the hotel security manager. From them, the air was filled with the rumors that the hotel had been directed to remove the barrier beginning Monday 26th September by midnight.”
The barrier was then suspended as by the orders and on Thursday, it was removed as the writer can confirm after visiting the scene.
“The Nairobi Arboretum is a public space that many Nairobians enjoy. The road leading up to it is also a public road. A private entity (Radisson) has put up a barrier on this public road where members of the public are screened. I have asked @NMS_Kenya to deal ASAP,” Sakaja wrote on Twitter on 1 December 2020.
Another Twitter user regreted,“The @RadissonBlu in Nrb on Arboretum Road put up a barrier point on the road leading to arboretum & have instructed their private security to stop bodabodas using the road. So if you're on a boda heading to arboretum you have to disembark at this 'security point'. What the hell?”
Conditions for rection of the barrier
The County had put forward conditions for erecting the barrier which included setting up a bulletproof guard booth, deployment of two armed police officers and two security guards. However, the post has been being managed by a single security guard and the other conditions were not met. At the start, the hotel deployed two guards.
“That you be required to bind yourselves to the conditional clause of removing the barrier should the Nairobi City County receive reasonable objection to the barrier from one or more area residents or other members of the public,” the letter from the authority read in part.
What is your take on this story and other incidences where private developers erect barriers on public roads?
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