The rot at city hall’s planning department and National Environment Management Authority (Nema) is the cause of collapsing buildings and mushrooming of illegal structures in the city, according to former Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Alex Ole Magelo.
Mr Magelo’s concerns come as MPs called the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to investigate with the prospect of prosecuting top officers at Nema and Water Resources Authority (WRA) for irregularly issuing developers with licenses to erect buildings along riparian areas.
Mr Magelo says that the don’t care attitude among these public officers has exposed innocent Kenyans to unnecessary dangers.
Mr Magelo spoke on Monday just hours after seven pupils died after a classroom collapsed at Precious Talent Academy on the city’s Ngong Road as they undertook their morning preps.
The pupils were aged between eight and 15 years.
He noted that efforts by the county Assembly to streamline operations at the city hall during his reign as speaker had been frustrated by the crooked officers.
“I agree with the MPs that the DCI comes in and have the crooks at the city’s planning department held to account. They cannot treat Kenyans so casually and that is why we are also coming in,” Mr Magelo said.
The inefficiencies in discharge of services to the public have also not spared institutions like the National Construction Authority (NCA), a state corporation, and the Architectural Association of Kenya in ensuring fidelity to the law and regulations is observed.
Mr Magelo noted that in the wake of the problems Nairobi County Governor Mike Sonko had done little to restore the glory of the city.
“When we wrote letters of complaint to the governor, he responded by suspending Chief Officer Mr Justus Kathenge for violating the Physical Planning Act and the zoning regulations. But the problems have persisted,” he says.
Mr Magelo has equally written to the DCI over the construction of a 14-storey blocks to house 224 apartments on a 0.75-acre land in the city’s Kileleshwa area in total violation of the zoning requirements.
According to the city development ordinances zones, the area is classified as zone four meaning that no building erected there should be more than four floors.
Interestingly, despite objections from the area residents, Nema approved its construction in July this year disregarding objections filed by the area residents in response to its own gazette notice of March 15, 2019.
“There is no other similar project around the property that is immediately neighbouring the building. The project will be grossly out of character with its surrounding,” Mr Magelo says in the September 11, 2019, complaint to the DCI.
The surrounding neighbours are single dwelling houses or multiple dwelling town houses.
It has also been established that the building lacks a sewer line serving Othaya road, which is adjacent to the building, meaning that it is not connected.
Further, there is storm water drainage casement throughout the property that causes flooding during rainy season.
“This has not been addressed by city hall or Nema in any way and the building is bound to increase the problem. We appeal to your ability to rescue and help to stop the ongoing construction.”