Three people lost their lives after a five storeyed building in Huruma, Nairobi, collapsed. This is just one in a series of such calamities that have occurred in Nairobi and its environs over the last few years, notably between 2011 and 2018. These incidents are an indictment on the National Government and the Nairobi County Government.
It is a wonder that the heavy rains that have been pounding Nairobi for some time now have not caused damage to buildings, most of which come up haphazardly without the necessary approvals from city authorities. Often, such buildings do not follow safety standards because the overriding concern for their owners is quick profit.
In the Huruma case, the difficulty rescue teams had in accessing the area point to lethargy in the city’s planning department, because such considerations as accessibility come up when approvals for buildings are being given where those charged with such responsibility take their work seriously. But even as we cross our fingers and hope no more buildings come tumbling down, we should not delude ourselves that all buildings in Nairobi are safe. More needs to be done to guarantee the safety of buildings.
Perhaps the recent award of land title deeds in Nairobi could take care of such unapproved buildings for we take cognizance of the fact that many unapproved buildings are a result of the landlords not seeking approval from city hall for lack of title deeds. However, this does not excuse the death traps landlords construct in haste. The city inspectorate department needs to rise up to the occasion.