Syokimau demolitions: Buyers solely to blame

Monday November 14 2011

People whose houses were destroyed in Syokimau are said to have been given quit notices by the government which they ignored.

As such, the government’s action could be said to have been fully justified.

However, the precipitate manner in which the demolitions were carried out leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

Things could have been handled more humanely, for it appears the victims were duped into buying land that was all along the property of the Kenya Airports Authority.

Still, the government, and the Kenya Airports Authority, have a case to answer. Syokimau is not a new settlement.

If the land is on a flight path to and from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, how come no one in authority noticed what was happening early enough and raised the alarm?

Did the issue become suddenly hot just because we are, at the moment, at war with a notorious terrorist organisation whose members are said to have started buying houses in the area in which they could carry out all sorts of nefarious activities?

This is a complex issue. On the one hand, it reeks of high corruption in Mavoko Municipal Council, which is said to have allotted this land to a private company.

On the other, greed and corner-cutting among the buyers could have blinded them to the dangers that such purchases exposed them to.

It is understood that the National Environmental Management Authority objected to any buildings on the land adjacent to the airport.

How come this objection was ignored and individuals went ahead to sink millions of shillings into the ventures?

Someone in authority should answer for this costly blunder.

But it is also clear that unless we Kenyans curb our appetite for cutting corners, then we cannot blame anyone when things go wrong.