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Building on top of river ‘was approved’

An MP has confirmed he owns a building under construction that obstructs the flow of a river, leading to flooding in Nairobi West.

Bobasi MP Stephen Manoti  said he bought the one-and-a-half-acre land on Lang’ata Road in 2008, from a party he did not name.

And before he started putting up the building, which he intends to turn into a hotel, he says he submitted his architectural drawings and other requirements to the defunct City Council of Nairobi for approval.

“City Hall is fully aware of the whole project, which they approved after Nema gave me the go-ahead to build,” Mr Manoti told the Daily Nation by telephone.

Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero ordered construction of the building to stop when he visited the site on May 13.

But the Ford People MP denied there was such a directive from the governor.

“We have only temporarily stopped construction because of the rains,” he said, adding that as soon as the rains subside, construction  will resume.

OFFICIAL MAPS

Mr Manoti also denied that he had diverted the river.

“I don’t need to divert the river as land here is very big and whoever is developing it has enough space.”

The building is being erected on top of the river valley and part of the structure’s perimeter wall is built on the river’s trail.

Nairobi does not have detailed official maps that delineate land on which development is prohibited due to environmental insensitivity.

As a result, developers have  no way of knowing which lands are protected.

After the floods that pounded Nairobi on the nights of May 12 and 13, the Nation sought to find out from Nema whether a map of such lands exists. The Kenya Wetland Atlas 2012 does not specify which land parcels are off-limits.