13 December 2018

Kenya: Hotel Near UN Offices in Gigiri Brought Down

Photo: Daily Nation
Sany the excavator demolishes Grand Manor Hotel.

Nairobi — Sany, the excavator used to demolish buildings, broke the serenity of Gigiri Thursday morning, as it brought down the Grand Manor Hotel.

The hotel which stands opposite the UN offices and adjacent US Embassy, was brought down over security concerns and lack of approval by the Nairobi County.

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Unlike other areas where hundreds of jobless youths would have camped hoping to scavenge on materials, authorities had an easy time as all they had to do was watch from a distance as the excavator brought down the building.

A loner contractor, Rajab Ali stood a few meters, shaking his head with his hands in the pockets.

Ali told Capital FM News that he had been contracted to put up the security system of the hotel, but his worry now is "I am yet to be paid for the work done. The authorities did not even give us time to salvage some of our property."

All was going down as he helplessly watched; "What is this?" he rhetorically asked before adding that " this is unfair."

The hotel is owned by businessman Praful Kumar, who was recently charged for trying to bribe Governor Mike Sonko.

While City Hall holds that the property was erected without approvals and poses a security threat to the UN and US embassy, the businessman argued that he was being targeted unfairly insisting that he followed due process.

So far, however, the country doesn't know who turned a blind eye as a high-rise building was being put up in such a security sensitive area.

Were county officials bribed to ignore the construction? Why the long wait?

Those were some of questions Kenyans were asking hoping the County authorities will also punish those who failed to act.

But this is not unique to this incident alone as tens of buildings either on public or riparian land have been demolished in the renewed war against impunity.

How and when did it start?

To some, 2018 has among other things been a year of demolitions.

So far, Kenyans have witnessed demolitions of what seemed untouchable, as the government moves to reclaim riparian land.

That of Ukay Centre in Westland's, Taj Mall and Southend Mall which was located along Mbagathi and Langata road roundabout.

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