Why Uhuru wants officials behind Nairobi riparian land scams punished

An excavator bringing down Ukay Mall in Westlands, Nairobi on Friday morning. [Courtesy]
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Noordin Haji, has ordered the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to investigate circumstances under which buildings were put up on riparian land and who approved the plans.

"In consultation with the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Keriako Tobiko, I have directed the DCI to immediately commence comprehensive investigations to establish the circumstances, the procedures and persons who irregularly and/or illegally issued the approvals for the construction of any building or structure on riparian land," the DPP said

In a statementt, the DPP has also ordered the investigation team to submit progress reports and duplicate police files to his office for perusal for further directions after every 21 days. 

President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered prosecution of all individuals involved in the riparian land scams. [Courtesy]
President Uhuru Kenyatta has supported the demolitions of structures on riparian land and called for the prosecution of individuals who approved the construction of the buildings.

In his twitter account, Uhuru said, "We will continue to demolish properties constructed on riparian lands, equally punish officials who made approvals for those properties."

Earlier today, the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) demolition equipment descended on the Ukay Centre in Westlands, Nairobi, making the shopping mall the latest casualty in the reclamation of riparian land.

There is, however, a measure of confusion after Nema officials dissociated themselves from the demolitions when they appeared before a parliamentary committee on Thursday, saying the tearing down of the structures was ordered by the Nairobi Regeneration Project.

Yesterday Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko listed 15 buildings to be demolished for being on public land, including his in Buruburu.

In his Facebook page he pointed out several facilities including proposed land for Gigiri and Ruaraka fire stations; Highbridge Hospital in Parklands; New Muthaiga Thigiri Ridge County Dispensary and Nursery School; grabbed Pumwani Hospital expansion structures; Eastleigh County Market and Mwariro County Market.

Grabbers of school land were also not spared. According to Sonko, land belonging to Langata Primary School, St. Catherine Primary School, Buruburu Girls School, Martin Luther Primary School, Kamkunji Secondary School and Langata Secondary School will revert to the institutions.

"All county public roads/ accesses, all grabbed land in all the estates within Nairobi reserved for playgrounds, all grabbed public social halls; all encroachments on public land including houses constructed on sewer line & Nairobi water pipeline, " read the post.

The governor advised property owners on the listed lands to vacate them as soon as possible.

"Better be a one term Governor and leave a legacy than entertaining grabbing of public land/utilities," he added.

In his support for the demolitions his own property along Buruburu he says will not be spared.  

"Even myself, there is a land I bought in Buruburu. About an acre of that land is part of road access and we shall start by demolishing that wall. It does not matter how well connected you are, if you have built on a road reserve or water ways, that structure has to go down," said Sonko.

On Wednesday Nema demolished a part of Southend Mall along Langata Road just two days after a Java House Kileleshwa outlet and a Shell fuel station were demolished.

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Nairobi demolitionsriparian landNemaUhuru KenyattaSonkoDPP Haji