20 March 2019

Kenya: Economy to Lose Sh500bn If Buildings Earmarked for Demolition Brought Down

Nairobi — The Nairobi Regeneration team has said the demolition of buildings on riparian land if allowed to continue, will impact the economy adversely to the tune of Sh500 billion.

Appearing before the Senate Lands Committee, the team's Chairman Najib Balala said already 5,000 buildings have been earmarked for demolition.

Balala who is also the Tourism Cabinet Secretary however said engagements with resident associations are currently undergoing.

"The value of demolition of those buildings will be Sh500 billion; that would be a major destruction on the economy; so, before the multi-agency proceeds, I will caution that a serious discussion on policy, compensation, litigation and action should be taken as a priority," Balala cautioned.

The Committee members led by their Chair Senator Paul Githiomi (Nyandarua) had asked the team to be fair to the innocent Kenyans who have invested their resources and had legal documents to construct the buildings.

"It is so unfair that those bearing the pain and loss on all these demolitions are the ordinary and innocent Kenyans who were legally allowed to build those structures yet the government officials who issued those licenses are yet to face the law. We want to see justice served to the Kenyans ," Githiomi said.

In his response, Balala assured that the government and more specifically President Uhuru Kenyatta is committed to ensuring that any government official who may have been involved in issuance those licenses will be held accountable.

"Chair and members I want to assure you that this matter is as sensitive to us as it is to you; the President is also really concerned about those innocent Kenyans and I want to reiterate his commitment in dealing with any official who in one way or another was involved in allowing the construction of buildings on riparian land, "said Balala.

Housing Principal Secretary Hinga Mwaura on his part stated that no building will be brought down unless a comprehensive report on the validity of the exercise is authenticated.

The heightened efforts to reclaim wetlands in the country started with demolition of Southend, a multi-million-shilling mall at the Lang'ata Road-Mbagathi Way roundabout on August 8 last year.

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