19 March 2019

Kenya: Demolition of City Buildings Illegally Erected on Kenya Power Wayleaves Halted

Demolitions of illegal buildings erected on Kenya Power electricity lines have been halted up to next week.

This comes after some of the affected residents went to court and obtained an injunction against the demolitions.

Kenya Power Security Services Manager Geoffrey Kigen said that the residents, 26 in number, drawn from Matopeni Area went to court and obtained restraining order stopping Kenya Power from proceeding with the demolitions.

"There is a court order obtained by residents from Matopeni Area. A total of 26 people went to court and obtained an injunction and the matter is being heard on March 22. So we might not proceed with the demolitions until the matter is heard," said Mr Kigen on Tuesday.

He said that they were supposed to move to Saika, Kayole, Mowlem and Dandora areas this week in the absence of the court order but now they will have to wait for the determination of the case.

Mr Kigen said that on Monday, about 500 houses built on the way leave were flattened in Chokaa Area in Mihang'o Ward, Nairobi County where he said that residents had encroached the way leave corridor, which was acquired wholly for the power line, taking advantage of the huge spaces existing between the two power lines.

"Some people had even started demolishing the illegal structures for themselves and so we saw it fit to give them time to do it," he said.

He said that the operation is targeting around 2, 000 illegal structures so as to create corridor for safety and maintenance of the lines.

The Security Services Manager said that last week the operation was in some parts of Buruburu Farmers land where about 300 illegal structures were brought down.

He explained that guidelines by Kenya Power state that structures should be built on a width of 20 metres on either side of a 220kV power line while on a line of 132kV should be built on a width of 15 metres on either side from the power line.

The houses are among thousands of constructions Kenya Power says are illegally built on a 100km stretch reserve known as a wayleave that stretches 5,300km countrywide.

At least 10,000 such structures extending 6km have been removed in Imara Daima, Mukuru kwa Njenga, Mukuru kwa Reuben and Sinai village.

Other areas mapped include Umoja Phase 1, Inner Core, Tena, Embakasi Baraka Estate to Tassia Estate, Mathare Valley slums.

In March, the power company launched the exercise which involves the demolition of illegal structures that have encroached on its wayleaves in Nairobi seeking to reclaim the encroached land.

The first phase of the process was carried out in Embakasi through Mukuru slums to Enterprise Road over a stretch of approximately 8 km.

So far, 15,250 unsafe structures, particularly in informal settlements, have been cleared in the capital city.

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