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The height of impunity

By Francis Ayieko | Jun 11th 2015 | 2 min read
By Francis Ayieko | June 11th 2015

Seven residential buildings on Kombo Road – off Kamiti Road – in Nairobi were last month marked for demolition by the National Construction Authority (NCA) and the Nairobi City County (NCC).

Apparently, the buildings, on a 300-metre stretch, have eaten into the road, which is due for expansion. Five of them are new while one of the remaining two is a squat, old dilapidated two-storey building shunned by tenants. The other one has been under construction that has seen it rise from two to five floors.

One of the five new buildings has six storeys that were hurriedly put up last year and early this year, after an old building on the same spot was demolished.

Despite the demolition marks (a big, red X), construction work on six of the buildings has been going on. The one that was at the foundation stage when NCA and NCC officials came calling has all the four walls up.

The roof of the six-storey building is being finalised while workers at the five-storey building are busy putting up the sixth floor and preparing rooms on the completed floors ready for occupation. (People have been renting rooms on the two “old” floors for a few years now).

A day after NCA and NCC marked one of the new buildings for demolition, construction workers were frantically obliterating the marks with sandpaper. The officials had to come a second time to mark the walls.

I have heard about the impunity with which some developers and other building and construction players go about their business in Kenya’s urban centres, but I have never witnessed anything like what is happening on Kombo Road. And this must just be the tip of the iceberg around the city. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

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