The government is set to continue the streak of demolitions for buildings sitting on riparian and road reserves this week. The demolition are expected to resume after the government issued orders to owners of buildings in illegal land instructing them to bring down their structures before the end of October.
The exercise is supposed to extend to 13 counties after the treasury disbursed funds for the exercise. The demolitions began in 2018, steered by a multi-agency team drawn from the Nairobi Regeneration Project, National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), Nairobi County and security agencies.
The demolitions have sparked rows between property owners and government over what they have termed as double play within government authorities. Ederman properties, the owners of the marked Seefar apartments in Highrise for instance were left to wonder how the former Minister for Housing, Soita Shitanda, had applauded and officiated the opening of the apartments in 2013 if it was on illegal land.
Taj mall owner Mr. Ramesh Gorassia, found fault with government authorities for demolishing a building they had approved, insisting that he had obtained the title deed and all documents related to the land through the right channels.
Attempts by the owners of Nakumatt Ukay to obtain parliamentary injuction against the demolition of the retail outlet were futile while owners of the South End mall along Ngong Road found themselves in similar circumstances.
Others victims who have criticised the government include Java coffee house and Vivi energy both of whom have said they had regulatory approval from relevant authorities before setting up their businesses.
So far, only Green Park estates have been spared the action after they obtained court orders topping a scheduled demolition of the estate.
The Kenyan chapter of the International Commission of Jurists faulted the government for carrying out the demolitions in a manner that infringed the constitutional rights of the owners, saying that they had disregarded court orders.
With NEMA still keen on reclaiming riparian land, destructive action awaits more concrete in the counties. The National Environment Management Authority (Nema) says it is targeting over 800 buildings in the operating in the country’s capital alone.