, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 12 – The Senate Lands Committee was forced to adjourn its sittings prematurely after Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko requested to be invited again together with the Nairobi Regeneration Team to shed more light on demolition.
The CS who was expected to answer queries on a petition before the Paul Githiomi (Nyandarua)-led committee said issues surrounding demolition of the structures sitting on riparian and road reserves are a collective responsibility of different ministries as well as Nairobi City County.
“Mr Chair, I would request that we extend the invite to my fellow colleagues and the members of the team so that the committee can get a consolidated position on the issue of demolition; as you know this is a collective matter and I will not be able to answer you conclusively,” Tobiko requested.
His plea was granted by Githiomi who after consultation with other committee members resolved to write to the Nairobi Regeneration Team chaired by Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala to appear before it on a later date which was not specified.
“Our Clerk is going to send a fresh invite to you and the team to come for a meeting because this is a matter that requires our attention as soon as possible,” said Githiomi.
Tobiko further stated that the Director of Criminal Investigations and Director of Public Prosecutions are already probing some of the government officials who issued licenses to investors, yet they knew the lands were either on riparian or on road reserves.
The petition which was presented before the committee by Nairobi Senator Jonson Sakaja on behalf of Seefar apartments owners, seeks to understand which mechanisms have been put in place to ensure the rights of innocent residents are not infringed upon among other issues.
“It is so bad that only the investors, home owners and tenants are bearing the pain of the demolitions yet there were government officials involved in issuance of the licenses. Chair, we need to get to the bottom of this matter and protect ordinary and innocent Kenyans who may be affected by these demolitions,” Nominated Senator Abshiro Halake said.
On 20 December, the government suspended demolition of property across the country until further notice.
The demolitions started with the establishment of a multi-agency stakeholder team meant to restore the failing glory of Nairobi City and to among others reclaim riparian and public land grabbed by cartels.
The first in line to be demolished was Java restaurant and Shell Petrol Station in Kileleshwa.
Southend, another multi-million-shilling mall at the Lang’ata Road-Mbagathi Way roundabout, was also brought down.
In August, the government also flattened the Ukay Centre in Westlands followed by Taj Mall in Embakasi.
Several other buildings were demolished, with more lined up.