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Eastleigh developers worry over Ruto's directive on high rise buildings

Property Developers' Welfare Secretary General Abdi Dahir flanked by other officials during a presser over tall buildings in Eastleigh, Nairobi in a picture taken on June 10,2024 after resident Ruto criticised tall buildings near Moi Airbase which borders Eastleigh. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

President William Ruto’s directive on the height of buildings in Eastleigh has sparked confusion among developers in the area.

The developers have expressed concern that the directive is likely to open floodgates for rogue officials to exploit them.

Speaking during the Kenya Air Force 60th celebrations at the Moi Airbase, Eastleigh, Nairobi, on Saturday, Ruto announced plans to regulate high-rise buildings near the airbase, an announcement that seemed to contradict his earlier stance.

“My government is committed to making sure that this facility does not lose its premium status. In discussions with the county government regarding all buildings that have been built beyond heights that are provided for within the law, we will work to make sure that all developers keep to the standards that we have agreed upon by the Kenya Airforce and the Kenya Defence Forces,” said Ruto.

On May 6, the president while speaking in Kiamaiko, Mathare sub county, said that the Kenya Kwanza administration would remove restrictions on high-rise buildings in Eastleigh. 

“I am the Commander in Chief, in Eastleigh previously you could not build more than a 12-storey building but I have now declared that you can build up to 25 or 30-storey buildings so that citizens can get accommodation and live in a harmonious neighborhood,” he said.

Through Property Developers Welfare Society of Nairobi, the developers are now calling for a meeting with stakeholders to end the confusion.

The society said that their members carry out construction in line with directives from Nairobi County Planning Department.

“We wish to emphasize our commitment to adhering to these directives while also encouraging all developers to follow the approved plans they were given by the  county,” said the Society Secretary General Abdi Dahir.

Dahir announced that they advocate for transparent communication, clarity in regulation and a conducive environment for sustainable growth of their member’s investments.

He declared support for crack down on rogue developers.

The Society's chairperson Abdirahman Mohamed faulted the county for issuing approvals that they later disown saying it is causing uncertainty and affecting members' investments.

“We should not be having problems with approvals that you are given and you have paid for and again you get yourself in problems should they revoke or not,” he said.

On the issue of conflicting statements from Ruto, Mohamed advised members to follow the law.

Dahir said that in the event there are conflicting directives from authorities then they may be forced to move to court to seek clarification.

He revealed that they may file petition in court to seek compensation in the event property is demolished.

Dahir maintained that the county is mandated to approve buildings and therefore they may not adhere to any other directive.

He explained that currently various areas in Eastleigh get different approvals in regard to height with the tallest buildings being between 16 to 20 floors.

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