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27 buildings earmarked for demolitions in Eldoret

By Silah Koskei | Published Sat, August 18th 2018 at 14:42, Updated August 18th 2018 at 14:50 GMT +3
Demolitions in Nairobi. The focus has now shifted to other counties. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Some 27 structures built on riparian land in Uasin Gishu County is being targeted by National Environmental Authority (NEMA) for demolition.

According to the authority officials, those on their radar were built along river Sosiani and wetlands.

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Speaking on phone on Saturday, Uasin Gishu Nema director Boniface Birichi said the building owners have already been given notices seeking them to demolish their structures before the full force of the law creeps on them.

“Already, we have issued them with reminders. There are those that have been built next to the bridge and those established on the upper Elgon view are on our focus,” said Birichi.

He noted that they are acting within the law and insisted that already, they have teamed up with county officials and Kenya National Highways Authority (KENHA).

The revelation came a day after 10 structures were on Friday pulled down in Eldoret that were believed to be standing on road reserve.

Traders who had rented the houses were forced to salvage their wares even as demolitions went on with security officials on guard.

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The disgruntled building owners took issue with the county and Kenha officials for failing to give them notices.

“I was given this land in 1987 and I applied for all documents before erecting buildings. I have been paying rates to the county office and it is painful that they have demolished them without even giving us warnings,” said Robert Limo.

He added: “The law dictates that dialogue should prevail, why is it then that nobody is engaging us on the demolition process, I have lost more than Sh 2 million from the incident,”

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Benjamin Letting another local defended ongoing demolitions saying previous mayors contributed to massive provision of parcels without considering its impact on environment

“We support the government’s decision to demolish structures that have made it impossible for our rivers to flow as it is expected, those who have also encroached on road reserves should move to pave way for good roads,” said Mr. Letting a resident.

In Kenya, Eldoret and Nakuru towns are poised to become cities against the underlying factors involving provision of clean water, urban space, health services and security to the increasing population.

The Urban Areas and Cities Amendment Bill 2017 crafted by Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen who also doubles up as the leader of majority is deemed crucial.

In the Act which the legislator seeks to have an amendment, the criteria for classifying an area as a city is subject to a population of at least five hundred thousand residents according to section 5(1) No. 13 of 2011.

“The review was necessary since the criteria provided in the Act are not achievable under the prevailing circumstances, unless the law is amended. The proposed amendments shall enable county governments to also efficiently and effectively deliver services in the areas designated as urban areas and cities,” read part of the Bill.

At the moment, Mombasa, Kisumu and Mombasa have already been classified as cities and the amendment of the urban cities Bill is likely to pave way to most towns in most counties to assume similar status.

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