'Compensate demolition victims', government told

Demolition of structures at Kiamaiko Huruma in Nairobi. Residents were who were living in riparian land were evacuated following heavy rains. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

The Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK) has called on the government to compensate the victims of recent government-led demolitions.

It said the Kenya Kwanza administration should also honour its pledge of relocating developers whose structures were demolished because they have been built on riparian land.

AAK brings together professionals from eight fields within the construction industry.

Its chairperson Florence Nyole said that though the developers faulted in putting up houses on riparian land, it was inhumane for the government to demolish them without caring where thousands of Kenyans would find shelter.

Speaking in Mihang'o area of Eastlands Nairobi during a sensitisation clinic, Nyole called upon Kenyans to take up the services of professionals as they put up structures.

Since 2017, the AAK has been carrying out sensitisation campaigns named “Je una mjengo?”.

It seeks to enlighten developers on the need to embrace the services of professionals when putting up structures to avoid losing their investments through such demolitions.

Following heavy rains which led to flooding in different parts of Nairobi, especially in the informal settlements, the government embarked on a sustained campaign of bringing down buildings put up on riparian land.

The exercise which was led by Interior CS Professor Kithure Kindiki has however brought desperation to thousands of Kenyans who have found themselves in the cold, without any shelter, with others losing their livelihoods.

AAK says that Kenyan developers have not inculcated the habit of incorporating the services of professionals when constructing, saying that 80 per cent of buildings in Kenya are constructed without using the services of professionals.

“A developer not only ends up losing materials during the construction period but also time and risking the lives of people who occupy such buildings,” said Wycliffe Waburiri, the chairperson of the architects under the AAK chapter.

He called on association members to give a list of the construction works they have been involved in to enable them to compile a list of buildings in the country which are sound.

“We understand that some people believe that it is expensive to hire the services of professionals, what they don’t know is that our rates are controlled and you also don’t need to pay the whole amount at a go,” he added.

According to Waburiri clients can easily pay for the services after engaging the professionals at different stages of construction.

Paul Katara, an engineer, called on Kenyans to always check the credentials of engineers via the Engineers Board of Kenya, before seeking their services.

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