10 August 2018

Kenya: Maathai's Legacy Secured By Demolitions - Conservationists

Nairobi — The demolition of Ukay Centre in Westlands has received accolades from environmental conservationists, who were opposed to its construction for years.

They say the legacy of the late Professor Wangari Maathai has been cemented since she was against construction of the building, which is on riparian land.

Led by Prof Wangari's Green Belt Movement, the conservationists marched to the site with seedlings, saying a firm message had been sent to the rich, "that greed doesn't pay."

The movement's chairperson Marion Kamau urged the government to ensure the land is fully reclaimed and trees planted on it.

"Today stands as a testament to the old adage that you cannot escape the long arm of the law and that no matter how long it takes, justice always prevails," she asserted.

"We commend this action by the Nairobi Regeneration Taskforce and let it be a warning to all illegally constructed buildings along our wetlands, you are next."

Already, Capital FM News has established that Oshwal Centre and a building adjacent to the demolished Ukay Centre will also be brought down.

Police have since established a special desk at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations Headquarters where the owners of affected buildings in the demolitions are required to present any approval documents granted to them by authorities.

"It is vital that Kenyans recognize the importance of conserving our natural resources, which include water catchment areas and wetland's, so as to promote sustainable development not only for ourselves but also for future generations," Kamau said.

Kamau has committed to continue agitating against land grabbing and environmental degradation.

"The government should further revoke all the titles on these areas to further uphold environmental conservation," she appealed.

Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji has directed DCI George Kinoti to launch a probe on the approvals and provide a report after 21 days.

"In consultation with the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Keriako Tobiko, I have directed the DCI to immediately commence comprehensive investigations to establish the circumstances, the procedures and persons who irregularly and/or illegally issued the approvals for the construction of any building or structure on riparian land," Haji said on Thursday.


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