NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 13 – Remarks by Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu at the weekend on the ongoing demolition of buildings along riparian lands has stirred controversy.
Raw emotions from a determined lot, mostly on social media platforms, determined to hear nothing other than the complete reclamation of riparian reserves.
But has the governor said anything different than what had happened?
Most of the buildings demolished like the Ukay Centre had altered the rivers “just a little bit.”
This is the outright impunity, the Government is fighting.
Waititu is of a different idea and has opposed the ongoing demolitions.
He wondered” “Why can’t the rivers be moved?”
One may argue, why not a little bit?
Hydromodification is the alteration of the natural flow of water through a landscape, and often takes the form of channel modification or channelization.
A broader definition of hydromodification covers not just channel modification but also changes in land use or cover.
According to various reports, hydromodification “is one of the leading sources of impairment in streams, lakes, estuaries, aquifers, and other water bodies.”
And some of the effects include, “changes in flow, increased sedimentation, higher water temperature, lower dissolved oxygen, degradation of aquatic habitat structure, loss of fish and other aquatic populations, and decreased water quality.”
The Kiambu Governor is concerned about the economic injury caused to investors by the “Green Sany bulldozers”
Hundreds have also lost their sources of income.
“I have been raised in Nairobi and something I see, like that of demolitions, I don’t support it,” he said during a church service attended by Deputy President William Ruto on Sunday.
Instead, he says, “if there is a building near a river, one should be told to cater for expenses used to move the river a little bit.”
“To demolish a building is not a solution. It is such a big loss,” he asserted.
Environment conservationists have lauded the demolitions as “revolutionary”.
Green Belt Movement chairperson Marion Kamau says, “It is vital that Kenyans recognize the importance of conserving our natural resources, which include water catchment areas and wetland’s, so as to promote sustainable development not only for ourselves but also for future generations.”
So far, Kenyans have witnessed demolitions of what seemed untouchable, as the government moves to reclaim riparian land.
That of Ukay Centre in Westland’s and Southend Mall which was located along Mbagathi and Langata road roundabout.
It all started in Kileleshwa where Java Restaurant and Shell petrol Station were brought down.
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday said the “Green Sany” and the war on graft will not be stopped, not even if it means losing friends.