7 November 2018

Kenya: Demolitions to Resume in Nairobi After a Lull

When demolitions of structures erected on riparian land in Nairobi began on August 6, it caught the affected property owners unawares as their multi-billion-shilling developments were flattened.

Structures were pulled down in Kileleshwa, Westlands, Lang'ata and Eastlands.

But the exercise, spearheaded by a multi-agency team comprising the Nairobi Regeneration Committee, National Environment Management Authority (Nema) and Nairobi County, soon fizzled out after the demolition of Airgate Centre -- formerly Taj Mall -- on September 15.

Other famous buildings that were brought down included Nakumatt Ukay Centre, Java Kileleshwa, Southend Mall and a section of Oshwal Centre.

OPERATION TO RESUME

After close to two months' break in the demolitions, the operation is set to resume before the end of this month.

The head of the multi-agency team overseeing the exercise, Mr Julius Wanjau, said the operation is set to resume before the end of this month after the expiry of most of the one-month notices given out by the team on October 1.

Mr Wanjau said the multi-agency team will meet any time this month to strategise on the next course of action.

"We could not proceed with the demolitions as there were notices given out last month by this team causing a stop to the demolitions but most expired on October 31 and so we will start any time this month so long as it is within Nairobi," said Mr Wanjau yesterday.

He said that before the demolitions stopped, almost half of the approximated 2,000 marked structures on wetlands in Nairobi had been brought down by the end of August either through individual efforts or by the multi-agency task force.

"Many people who had marks on their buildings have demolished most of the marked areas themselves in areas like Kileleshwa, Kobumunyiri in Kamukunji and Kiruga," he said.

4, 000 BUILDINGS TARGETED

Mr Wanjau explained that the demolitions target 4,000 buildings, structures and facilities erected on riparian land and road reserves.

The National Building Inspectorate chairman Moses Nyakiongera confirmed that demolition of unsafe structures will resume in a week's time once funding is received from the Treasury.

"We will resume any time because our budgetary allocation for this quarter has been loaded, so it should be a week or so from now then you will see us in action. We are planning to start in Huruma estate in Nairobi," said Mr Nyakiongora yesterday.

However, he said that inspection, auditing and scientific testing have been ongoing.

Nema director of communications Evans Nyabuto said: "It is a complex process and no one will tell you the next course of action. The only person who can help you is Housing ministry Principal Secretary Charles Hinga."

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