The Kikuyu people and other environmentalists stage protests when the country’s roads agency announced plans to uproot a giant fig tree in order to make way for a highway in the capital Nairobi.
The century-old fig tree is four-stories tall and fig trees are considered sacred among Kenya’s most populous ethnic group, the Kikuyu. The plans to cut it down will not go ahead after Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta issued a decree to save the much-loved tree.
The presidential decree describes the fig tree as a “beacon of Kenya’s cultural and ecological heritage,” and places the tree in the care of the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) on behalf of the city’s residents.
“This particular fig tree is just a symbol of the bigger picture of what we are asking for,” said Elizabeth Wathuti, a prominent Kenyan environmental activist. “We want a green and clean city and clean Kenya.”
Both the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) and the Kenya National Highways Authority have now agreed to reroute the proposed highway, ensuring that the towering fig tree remains exactly where it is today.