Ruto puts Eastleigh developers on notice over high-rise buildings


Some of the highrise buildings in Eastleigh. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

President William Ruto now says developers within Eastleigh, Nairobi, and its environs must ensure buildings maintain height standards as agreed upon by the Kenya Air Force and the Kenya Defence Forces.

Ruto said this will play a key role in ensuring that the Moi Airbase does not lose its premium position to buildings that pose a security threat.

Speaking during the Kenya Air Force 60th Anniversary at Moi Airbase, Ruto said the Nairobi county government must move swiftly and ensure the developers adhere to regulations.

“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.

The President’s sentiments contradict his earlier statement when he gave property developers in the area the go-ahead to construct high-rise buildings to meet the growing demand for houses.

Recently, Ruto said that unlike to the past, when developers were subjected to height restrictions, his administration would approve the construction of upto to 30-storey buildings.

During a visit to Kiamaiko in Mathare Sub-county, he said: "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.”

In April, Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja announced that City Hall had scraped height restrictions to pave the way for taller buildings in some areas.

Sakaja said he had consulted the president on the removal of height limitations, especially around airports and barracks.

“I am happy the height restriction has been removed. We are going to go up to 25 floors with the houses we are building," he said.

But Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale last month directed that all individuals seeking to build on land close to military establishments to get approvals from the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF).

An aerial view of some of the highrise buildings in Eastleigh. [Courtesy]

Duale said developers should read and understand the amended Physical and Land Use Planning Act of 2019, which guides on land use that safeguards national security.

"If you are a neighbour to a military camp and want to build, that which you want to build must be approved by the CDF because our premises are security installations. Even at the Department of Defence, where we are, how high you can go must be concurrent with us," he said.

President Ruto in his remarks said his government will continue to support the disciplined forces to ensure their welfare is well catered for.

“We have started the first phase of 10,000 housing units to support the housing plan for all formations in line with our commitment to ensure our KDF personnel have adequate and proper housing facilities,” said Ruto.

The president said his administration has further committed to training 200 pilots every year to enhance KAF’s skills.

“I am aware of the tremendous challenges that you have faced but in all these adversities, you have risen to a stronger disciplined force. With evolving threats, we shall ensure that our air force is modenised and equipped with tools and resources needed to enhance their capacity and that of the entire KDF for mission readiness,” said Ruto.

The Head of state said the US and South Korea had pledged to offer capacity building to all the formations to ensure they maintain their standards.