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Southend Mall to take another 7 days to be completely flattened

By Josphat Thiong'o | Published Mon, August 27th 2018 at 14:14, Updated August 27th 2018 at 14:24 GMT +3
An excavator demolishes the Southend mall Building along Langata road in Nairobi on August 8, 2018. [Edward Kiplimo/Standard]

The demolition of South end Mall located at the junction of Langata road and Mbagathi road will take another seven days to complete.

The multi-agency taskforce in charge of the demolitions will then head back to Kileleshwa to bring down another unidentified building.

Nairobi river regeneration taskforce’s operations manager, Julius Wanjau on Monday told The Standard that the demolition of Southend Mall had proved challenging owing to the height of the building.

The chief said that the building had to be strategically flattened despite it having been partially destroyed by the National Youth Service bulldozers hired for the undertaking. He noted that the structure posed a safety danger to motorists and area residents.

“We have to make sure that we completely finish with this site before embarking on the demolition of the other buildings across the city. We are urging Nairobians to be patient and we assure them we will demolish all the targeted buildings in due time,” he said.

Mr. Wanjau further admitted that if the taskforce decides to use explosives to bring down the building, then it would have been faster but reiterated that it was no longer an option due to the impact it would have on surrounding buildings.

“We already completed the flattening of Ukay Center and we want to do the same with Southend mall. We are working to the best of our capability and as fast as we can,” he added.

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The demolitions are targeting 4,000 buildings, structures and facilities erected on riparian land and road reserves in Nairobi.

So far, Ukay centre, Oshwal centre, Java Kileleshwa and Southend mall have fell victim to the demolitions.

The demolitions have now entered the third week despite eliciting mixed reactions from different quarters.

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) last week condemned the manner in which the Government is conducting demolition of buildings on riparian land. The commission said the multi-agency task force charged with the exercise performed its duties in total disregard of court orders, and without following due process.

Speaking at Serena Hotel, Kelvin Mogeni who is the chairman of ICJ, Kenyan chapter, said the blatant disregard for court orders was counterproductive. He further noted that despite the government bringing down structures it did not revoke the titles of the owners. He was opined that the government ought to first prove that the land being repossessed was illegally acquired and it should also prosecute those who sold it to the owners.

On the flipside, the demolition exercise has been hailed as a step in the right direction by leaders among them Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko.

The governor recently welcomed the bulldozers to demolish his property in Buru Buru said to be on riparian land.

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