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Demolitions: Brace for legal battles after this, surveyors caution State

By David Mwitari | August 11th 2018
A bulldozer demolishes four-storey Ukay Centre that sits on riparian land. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

The Institution of Surveyors of Kenya (ISK) has warned the government against demolishing properties in a bid to protect riparian reserves without proper audit. ISK has cautioned that this risks attracting legal suits if the process is not stopped henceforth as a result of inconsistencies in laws on riparian land.

“It is our advice that the multi-agency team thinks through this exercise to forestall possible legal battles over compensation based on the demolitions,” ISK has said.

ISK chairman Abraham Samoei admitted that the biodiversity has been lost and replaced by physical structures and human activities in Nairobi, however, he cautioned the Nairobi Regeneration Team to rethink the demolitions.

“We are aware some developments obtained necessary approvals from various agencies including the physical planning, department of lands, surveyors, city county of Nairobi, National Environment Management Authority and Water Resources Management Authority and these laws harmonisation and consistency is what should be addressed first,” Mr Samoei said.

Majority of the property developers took advantage of inconsistencies in the law and in collusion with government officers, got approvals to construct buildings.

For instance, the Survey Act of 1961 has recommended a width of at least 30 metres measured from high water mark tidal rivers, the Physical planning Act of 1998 provides for a minimum of 10 meters whereas the Resources Management Rules provide for minimum of 6 meters and a maximum of 30 meters.

“Multiplicity of laws has caused confusion and created a loophole that has been exploited by unscrupulous persons,” ISK has said.

Nairobi Regeneration Team is targeting to demolish more than 5,000 structures erected on riparian areas.

To avoid encroachment, Hussen Omar of Frontier surveyors of has said all public land should be surveyed, registered and documented. This he added that will minimize conflicts and uncertainties with the adjoining private land.

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