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Three mosques, hotels near Moi Air Base in Nairobi face demolition

COUNTIES
By Nzau Musau | December 3rd 2016
An aerial view of Moi Air Base. Three grand hotels, three mosques and a church built near a military facility in Nairobi risk demolition for contravening building regulations. (PHOTO: COURTESY)

Three grand hotels, three mosques and a church built near a military facility in Nairobi risk demolition for contravening building regulations.

The seven are on a list of 45 developments identified by the Nairobi County Government, following a complaint from Moi Air Base (Eastleigh) Commander on May 5, on their continued encroachment on the facility.

They include eleven-storey Grand Royal Hotel, seven-floor Barakat Hotel and eight-storey Solar Lodge built on plot number.

All the three hotels are said to have exceeded the permitted number of floor levels allowed in the area while Grand Royal Hotel and Barakat lack occupation certificates. The demolitionnotices were issued on separate dates in 2009 and 2010.

The three mosques facing uncertain future include a four-storey one built along the fence of the airbase, one also built close to the fence and another on Eastleigh Second Avenue.

The mosques are four storeys each, exceeding the three-floor limit for buildings near the air base. Some were built without approval from city authorities, while others lack occupation certificates. The PAG church is next to the air base fence with a 12-metre road between it and the airbase.

“We deliberately left out applications from developments done on disputed private or public land, riparian way leave or access roads. For those like the ones in Eastleigh, the law will take its course. The buildings will have to come down at some point,” Governor Evans Kidero told The Standard on Saturday.

Also on the condemned list are tens of residential flats, which have exceeded approval limits or encroached on the 15m buffer zone of the air base and lack occupation certificates. Structures must be at least 15m from the fence of the airbase.

They also include poorly built structures and flats next to the airport fence and wall, occupied plots immediately before the air base boundary wall, temporary garages encroaching on the fence into existing 17th Street plot, and low rise residential developments with 12-metre-wide road between them and the air base.

Twenty-six of the 45 properties had been issued with demolition notices by May. It was not immediately clear whether the remaining 19 have since been issued with the notices.

In April 2010, the grand coalition Cabinet of President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga authorised the demolition of all illegal structures around airports and other strategic installations such the Moi Airbase.

By October of the same year, the demolitions were authorised but before demolition squads could move into Eastleigh, the exercise was stopped and the agencies involved required to appear before parliamentary committees on national security, lands, housing and local authorities.

A number of developers in Eastleigh also moved to court and obtained injunctions against the demolitions. A total of eight constitutional petitions were filed against the former City Council of Nairobi and the Attorney General on behalf of the Kenya Air Force and Department of Defence.

Much later in 2012, the Kenya National Audit Office carried out a forensic audit of the demolitions that had happened and faulted the squads, as well as those who had approved the structures or allocated the plots.

“We are determined to restore order in the city. All properties which will miss out on this regularisation, including the Eastleigh ones, will be brought down or taken over by the county government,” Kidero said.

Regularisation entails inspecting buildings to ensure they meet planning regulations, are structurally sound and have paid fees.

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