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We should not lose more lives under collapsing buildings

By Editorial | December 8th 2019 at 08:30:00 GMT +0300

The government stands indicted for each of the lives lost in the collapsed six-storey building in Tassia, Embakasi East, Nairobi. The officials who gave the building a clean bill of health, right from the architect, the owner and the contractor, have blood on their hands. The tenants, who even after the building had been marked as unsafe, went ahead and occupied it, are also not off the hook. Now, for how long will this continue?

We have put so many lives at risk through unsafe houses. Buildings collapsing in Kenya, especially during the rainy seasons, is not a new phenomenon, but the mere fact that these constructions were approved by the authorities, is baffling. When a building collapses, officials come out and issue threats and marking some as condemn for demolition. But it all ends there - at least until another tragedy strikes. As a country, we must follow the law on where buildings should be erected and how.

This means we must plan for every building. In spatial planning, functionality is key even as we look at other issues like the geology of the area. The rains have exposed hitherto unseen waterways which have long been grabbed and inhabited. Who allowed this to happen and why? Someone should be held responsible for every death that occurs through collapsed buildings. Developers must also be held to account for every mistake that occurs. It is not proper that someone can sacrifice lives of innocent Kenyans on the altar of profits.

This is unacceptable in a civilised society. This is the time to make tough decisions that will reverberate into the future that the government is serious about safeguarding lives. Buildings on waterways must be cleared and those found culpable held responsible. If the offices need a total overhaul, so be it. In the same vein, the car incident at the Likoni ferry crossing demonstrates the lethargy rife in State agencies meant to serve the public.

All safety measures must be adhered to at all ferry crossings in the country. This is the least taxpayers can demand from the government.

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