UPDATE on Greater Southern Bypass

Dear Friends,

Thank you all for your support and the letters that were sent regarding your concerns on the Greater Southern Bypass.

On Thursday at 9 am, Jo Kinnear, Enoch Mobisa, Michael Mbithi and I met with the CEO of the Water Services Board who had arranged a meeting with the Chief Engineer of the Kenya National Highways Authority, Eng. Sam Okech Omer. We had asked for representation from a number of other agencies but many were busy and could not attend because they were tied up with reviewing the Wildlife Bill which goes for stakeholder consultation on Monday.


This email is to brief you on our findings and way forward.


We raised or concerns regarding the plans for Greater Southern Bypass.  We informed him about the wildebeest and zebra movements based on ACC/Colorado State University radiotracking and he said he was not aware of the wildlife movements. He agreed that the importance of the park should not be compromised. We showed him maps of the Kitengela/Isinya Land use plan which was launched yesterday Friday 26th August.


He thanked us for visiting his office to raise our concerns and for sensitizing him about the work that we are doing as FoNNaP and other conservation organizations in the Kitengela and Athi Kapiti Ecosystem.


He said that plans were still in discussion stage and were sourcing for a consultant for this project. He however confirmed that the route that we were concerned about was not on the cards and that the agency was considering a route considerably further south.


We expressed concern that no matter where the road is, it will cross the wildebeest migration routes.


He assured us that we would be consulted when planning for the Greater Southern Bypass starts, and said he was open to suggestions about overpasses and underpasses to permit wildlife movements.


We discussed how the future roads in the area needed to be sensitive to the needs of wildlife and pastoralists and he agreed that KeNHA could play a leading role in combining conservation with development and make Nairobi a model city.  He invited us to learn more about the agency and share their work and plans which we promised to do.


Friends, we all went into that meeting feeling quite despondent but emerged feeling truly relieved and positive. We were very happy with the commitment of Engineer Okech and we will follow up with the KeNHA on this and other roads that are planned for the area.


Two additional developments

On Friday 26th August, Classic FM carried a statement by Mr. Francis Ole Kaparo who stated that NEMA would not allow any roads to disrupt wildlife movements in the Kitengela area.


I also had a long discussion with Mugo Kibati regarding Vision 2030 and the importance of wildlife conservation being key to Kenya’s future image which he agreed.


He informed me that the Nairobi Metropolitan masterplan is now complete and invited us to participate in stakeholder consultations. We will set up meetings from Monday.




We will now write to Eng. Okech to thank him for the meeting, and we will follow up with the DG of KeNHA to inform him of the meeting and to state our concerns and offer to participate in the planning of the Greater Southern Bypass.


We will follow up on the Nairobi Metropolitan plans
We look forward to all your continued support, views and advice.

Kind Regards
Paula Kahumbu


5 responses to “UPDATE on Greater Southern Bypass

  1. Certainly, the Wildlife ecosystem is very sensitive to human activities such as road construction and car movement. All care must be taken to ensure that it remains intact and wildlife movement is not disrupted. Keep putting the pressure and updating us.

  2. This is good news, so far – and hope the new understanding re WIldlife movements is fully appreciated and integrated. Good job FONAPP

  3. Fantastic, positive news. The intensive lobbying has paid off – so far. Let’s keep it up to ensure wildlife movements are as unimpeded as possible. That means considerable extra expense on over- and under-passes.


  4. I would like to draw attention to the comment that the Nairobi Metropolitan Masterplan is complete. You can access this plan at
    Notice that it calls for some rather crazy ideas like creating new towns including one next to Amboseli. See:
    See also the critiques raised in the Standard
    The Ministry of Nairobi Metropolitan Development held a competition and a number of ideas were proposed-in competitions, the new ideas are all supposed to be displayed to the public and debated and then a new plan is put together with the best ideas and public input. Instead an Indian engineering firm (same one with all the contracts for Thika Highway) won and the Ministry seems to be imposing their plan which has serious ramifications for the parks. For full disclosure, I was involved in the concept team led by Dr. Esho and we had the whole South as a conservation zone…but the public is only being fed a plan that the Ministry has chosen, not the people. We are happy to share all the concepts with anyone so when the new Nairobi and surrounding counties are in place, the public can debate and put in place through proper democratic channels an appropriate plan-not one drawn up in a secretive way by a Ministry that actually has no power to approve plans in any case. My guess is that given the importance of the parks and tourism revenues and pastoralism/meat industry and cultural preservation that the public and any representative political body would back a proper plan that protects the park as one of the many features that makes Nairobi one of the world’s most remarkable cities.

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