A colonial statue that has stood in a Nairobi park for more than a century has been destroyed.
On Tuesday, debris was all that remained of a statue of UK’s Queen Victoria which, according to its base, was unveiled by the Duke and Duchess of Connaught on March 17, 1906.
Zarina Patel of Friends of Jeevanjee Gardens expressed her regret that vandals had chosen to destroy a statue of historical value.
“I am very shocked and saddened by this terrible thing,” Ms Patel told Kenya’s Nation newspaper by phone.
Ms Patel is the granddaughter of Alibhai Mulla Jeevanjee, a wealthy and philanthropic merchant who in 1906 donated his land for use as a public park.
The statue was installed in the park to secure it against land grabbers, Ms Patel claimed. [Rumours have it that drunkards broke the statue down and dropped it near its former stand.]
“When my grandfather gave out the land to the colonial government, he was afraid that at one point land grabbers would eye the plot,” she said.
The government was to commit to preserve the statue as a condition for receiving the plot from Mr Jeevanjee.
Ms Patel said that with the current spate of land grabbing cases in the country, it was possible that grabbers were responsible for the demolition of the statue and dismissed reports that “mad” people had destroyed it.
Over the years, efforts have been made to rehabilitate the public space. Jeevanjee Gardens currently has two public toilets, a shop, a smoking zone and several benches.
Richard Irungu, an official with the city planning department, said the land belongs to the county government and no one can claim ownership.
Rumours have it that drunkards broke the statue down and dropped it near its former stand.