NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 22- Members of Parliament from the Environment and Natural Resources Committee now want the Nairobi Dam decommissioned saying that it is no longer serving the purpose it was created for.
While appearing before the committee to answer questions raised by Langata MP Nixon Korir on the demolition notice given to Seefar Apartments in Highrise, National Environment Management Authority Managing Director Geoffrey Wahungu said that the dam is not safe and poses great risks to the residents.
“The position where the apartments are built on is riparian and I am sure just as one of the members has said, we do not want to experience a situation that has been experienced in this country before. Chair whether the law was followed or not, if we do not do what we need to do now, we might be here again having a different conversation after lives have already been lost,” Wahungu warned.
MP Korir was however of a different view and suggested that the environment regulatory authorities decommission the dam and stop the demolitions of the Seefar buildings arguing that the owners followed due process before they built.
“This dam Mr Chair is not a natural dam, it was constructed and as we speak now the owner who is Nairobi County does not care about it. We cannot subject innocent people to so much pain when they have official and legal documents from these authorities. Let them decommission the dam and allow the 287 families within Seefar have peace of mind,” Korir said.
His suggestion was backed by Kareke Mbiuki (Maara MP) led committee members who blamed NEMA for issuing licenses to people and later claim that the buildings are sitting on riparian lands.
“Why didn’t your officials follow up to ensure that all the conditions required by your offices were followed before the building was put up ? Why wait until people have invested their money to come and demolish their houses?” Mbiuki wondered.
Kipkelion West MP Hillary Kosgei faulted the Ministry of Environment saying some officials are sleeping on their job and asked them to be as serious as they were during plastic paper bags ban and decommission the dam which has now become a pollutant.
“Mosquitoes are eating our people all the way from Highrise to South C because of environmental issues which are not being addressed by the ministry. You were very firm on the issue of plastic bags; why are you not issuing an order to decommission this dam that is no longer serving its purpose? we need to be serious on this problem,” Kosgei stated.
The Ministry of Environment CAS Mohamed Elmi who was also before the committee was directed by Mbiuki to submit a comprehensive report next week on Thursday, indicating safety status of the Nairobi dam.
The NEMA and Water Resources Management Authority (WARMA) issued a 14-day notice to Seefar Apartment management on October 13 saying the apartments encroache on the Nairobi Dam riparian reserve land.
The notice has however been extended to 90 more days after NEMA and WARMA stated that they needed to undertake thorough checks on the compliance documents issued to the property’s developer.