EDITORIAL: Rein in officials who approved structures - Daily Nation

Rein in officials who approved structures

Saturday August 11 2018

By EDITORIAL
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The government’s firm resolve to demolish all structures on riparian land is reassuring.

We need order and fidelity to the rule of law.

All illegal structures, not just on the riparian areas, have to be brought down and not only in Nairobi, but throughout the country.

A message must be sent to all that a society cannot thrive on illegalities; that people can do honest business and earn their keep.

But now we ask that the government moves to the next level and rein in all those who have been approving the illegal structures.

APPROVAL

President Uhuru Kenyatta has already directed action against those individuals and the onus now rests on the Director of Criminal Investigations, the police and Director of Public Prosecutions to seize the moment and act.

Victims of the destroyed properties have clearly indicated they got all the approvals from the relevant agencies before they put up those buildings.

National Environment Management Authority, Water Resources Management Authority, county authorities, among others, all gave approvals.

The buildings did not spring up overnight; they took long to construct and were supervised and given certificate of completion and occupation by the authorities.

All those involved in the chain have to take responsibility for the mess.

For a start, a comprehensive audit must be quickly carried out to determine, one, the authenticity of the documents used by the developers, two, those who sanctioned them and three, the circumstances under which that was done.

NEGLIGENCE

Those individuals must be seized and charged for criminal offences.

They have abused their offices and squandered public trust.

They have abetted crime by wilfully letting-go of public resources under their charge.

And it is not enough to deal with the individuals, the systems and structures under which they work also have to be examined thoroughly.

Rooting out the vice requires a systemic approach, not ad hoc and whimsical response.

Tied to this, we should interrogate the numerous court injunctions that some of the developers have been flaunting whenever authorities attempt to stop them from doing the constructions.

JUDICIARY

In this context, search light has also to be shone on the Judiciary.

How comes the developers are able to obtain court injunctions that allow them to commit illegalities?

Put differently, has the Judiciary been roped into an insidious scheme of appropriating public resources, knowingly or unknowingly?

We have argued before that public resources are under serious threat from avaricious individuals who never fail to seize any opportunity to make a kill. Hence the imperative to protect them.

We argue that clearing of all illegal constructions has to continue and approval processes tightened. In the meantime, those authorising illegal structures must be netted and punished.