Karen residents complain as new building veers off original plan

The imposing buildings being put up by a developer near Hardy Shopping Centre in disregard of a court order stopping it. Photo: Jeckonia Otieno 
NAIROBI, KENYA: Hosea Kiplagat has been supplying water to 22 of his neighbours in Hardy-Karen until recently when this arrangement was jolted.

One of his neighbours is putting up a project in the area and has sunk a borehole barely 50m from Kiplagat’s borehole, causing the water to turn murky.

The construction, Mr Kiplagat says is going on despite a court order stopping it. The retired head of one of Kenya’s biggest banks – Cooperative Bank – has been involved in a tussle with Peter Kiplangat Korir the Managing Director of the Nyayo Tea Zones, a state corporation.

The battle is said to have started when construction began around mid-2016. Kiplagat’s lawyer John Kibet says that a court order was issued in August, 2016 but is yet to be respected.

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“Since the order was issued, it has been a cat and mouse game with no enforcement,” says Kibet of the buildings which are now on the second floor.  

Court orders

The court order seen by Metropolitan was issued by the National Environmental Tribunal issued on August 12, 2016 and states explicitly that all work should stop. 

“… the National Environment Tribunal (NET) has received an appeal from Sewenei limited and Raymond Bomett against Nema’s decision to issue you with an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) license No. NEMA/NRB/PR/5/1/8941 for construction of two residential houses in Hardy-Karen, without following the laid down statutory procedures and failing to respond to their application for revocation of the said EIA license,” it reads in part.

Kibet states that construction work is currently going on.

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When Metropolitan visited the area, there were workers on site but we were not allowed to access the construction site.

“About six months after the order was issued, the works continued for about six months before they stopped again. They have resumed again this February,” he says.

While Hardy Police Station is barely 600m from the site, the authorities are yet to effect the order despite having been served – both the OCS Hardy and OCPD Karen.

Some of the issues Kibet raises are the two buildings being constructed, which he argues, are not in the original plan.

He further states that the fact that the buildings go two floors up against the recommended one floor up in the residential area denies his client privacy.

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Kibet also states that sinking a borehole less than 100m from Kiplagat’s borehole, has affected the quality of water.

A neighbour, who has been using water from the borehole andspoke on condition of anonymity, said he had to spend three times more on water every month.