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Home Science & Tech Environment Why Kenya's giant fig tree won over a President.

Why Kenya’s giant fig tree won over a President.

Governments are not always known to listen to their people. In Kenya people have been pleading with government and politicians to help stop the spread of Covid-19, by abandoning their political rallies aimed at persuading Kenyans to endorse a constitutional amendment campaign for a referendum. The politicians from both the ruling party and the opposition have been holding massive rallies around the country fueling the rapid spreading of COVID-19. The rate of infections has shot up as well as the number of pople who are now dying from the virus.

It came as a big shock to Kenyans when one tree spoke and the government listened. But this is not an ordinary tree. The majestic fig tree , which is about 100 year old and towers over a section of Waiyaki way in west of Nairobi had been condemned to die to make way for construction of the highway. No one knows quite how and why the president changed the mind of the government and issued a decree to spare the fig tree.. He described it as a beacon of Kenya’s cultural and ecological heritage. The Chinese contactors who were supposed to cut down the tree just shook their heads in bewilderment. The tree has won the battle for survival.

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The controversy about the fig tree did not start today, in the beginning Adam and Eve are said to have eaten the fig fruit against the commandment given to the by GOD not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and once they ate the fruit, they discovered that they were naked and has to use the leaves of the tree to cover their nakedness. The fig tree has a lot of spiritual significance to many communities who revere it and even use it as their shrine for spiritual intervention and sacrifices.

Figs are natures most amazing creation, The fig fruit is actually an inward blooming flower or bundle of flowers whose survival depends on the fig-queen wasp for pollination. Every single one of the 750 plus species of fig plant has its own fig wasp and together they have co-existed for more than 60 million years according to the New Yorker reports. In order to pollinate the plant the female wasp enters the unripe , male fig ( not the species that are eaten) and, lays her eggs. Once the new born hatch , they all mate and the males that are born without wings, chew a tunnel out of the fig. then they die, and the female file out through the escape route to the wide open world , where they take flight in search of another fig tree in which to lay their eggs.

Once the queen wasp enter the fig tree to lay their eggs , their wings and antennae are stripped away , leaving the wasp to do her duty and perish. The fig tree feeds on the dead wasp as nourishment. The fig tree continues to inspire, confound and amaze many people due its very complex ordination.

Peter Kegode
Peter Kegode Peter Kegode has a Bachelor of Arts in Administration from Metropolitan State University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Metropolitan State University, Minnesota, USA, and a certificate in Project Management from Projekt Styrning Stockholm Sweden. Peter has over 30 years experience in investment banking, financial Literacy, agribusiness, International Trade & Negotiations, and Climate Advocacy Practice with his career spanning three continents: Africa, North America & South America.

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