State agencies give conflicting figures on buildings earmarked for demolition. From malls in Lang’ata to high-end coffee shops in Kileleswa to religious sanctuaries, including parts of the Oshwal Centre, went down in a pitiable rabble. Everyone kept asking: who will be next? According to a task force appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta to clean and reclaim Nairobi River, among other rivers dubbed the Nairobi Regeneration Team, more than 4,000 building will be pulled down before the operation comes to an end. According to the National Buildings Inspectorate and the multi-sectoral committee on unsafe structures, more than 3,000 buildings have been marked as unsafe for occupation and will be pulled down.
Last week, the country was treated to a spectacle when the Government moved to demolish multi-billion-shilling storey buildings believed to have been built on wetlands.
Bulldozers from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure rolled towards the buildings, tearing them from limb to toe in an unprecedented move.
The figures are in total contrast with statistics from the National Construction Authority (NCA), the State agency mandated to inspect, approve and audit all construction activities in the country. NCA Executive Director Morris Achieng last week released the results of an audit that his agency carried two years ago. In the audit, NCA claimed that it inspected 5,000 buildings. Out of the 5,000 buildings, 800 were found to be unsafe. However, out of the 800, 149 were found to have partially complied with the NCA approval processes and only needed some structural adjustments, not total demolition. But the remaining 651 were found to have completely ignored the approval processes and were declared to be unsafe, with the only option being to demolish them. “You will find out that out of 10 buildings that we surveyed in a county like Nairobi, four are unsafe and must be demolished,” Mr. Aketch said while releasing the results of the audit.
Apart from NCA, the other State bodies bandying different figures of the buildings to be demolished include the National Environmental Management Authority, The Water Services Regulatory Board and the Buildings Inspectorate. There is yet to be an agreement from these agencies on the exact number of buildings that should be demolished.