Nairobi News

NewsWhat's Hot

Kidero sends four top City Hall officials packing

Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero has suspended four top county officials following the collapse of a house in Huruma.

Five people had been confirmed dead by 5pm Tuesday when rescue operations came to an end.

Governor Kidero suspended the chief officer in charge of planning, urban development and housing, Ms Rose Muema, director of enforcement and compliance Jairus Kathenge and 16 others.

The suspension came a day after Dr Kidero said investigations would be conducted and individuals found to have engaged in corruption and negligence that allowed construction of the building punished.

On Monday, when he visited the site of the collapsed building, he said all buildings in the city would be inspected and those found to be unsafe would be demolished.

SANITY

“We will get to the bottom of the matter and move to other areas in the county,” he said. “There must be sanity in this sector and let the other affected officials know their day is coming.”

At the end of the rescue operations, residents were allowed to get into the site and try to find some of their belongings.

Sources in the city planning department indicate that the building, belonging to a Mr Simon Gitau, had been earmarked for demolition seven years ago when its construction had just began.

The owner, however, continued with the construction, even surpassing the number of floors initially intended.

A warrant of arrest was issued against him on October 14, last year. He was to be charged with a criminal offence.

MARKED UNSAFE

It is unclear why the building, which was inspected many times and marked unsafe, was not demolished, but sources indicate that its owner enjoyed protection and support from former politicians.

Following the tragedy, President Kenyatta directed the Ministry of Lands to collaborate with the Nairobi City County to conduct a comprehensive audit of buildings in the city, especially in Eastlands, to prevent similar disasters.

Mr Kenyatta said such incidents occurred because of impunity.

He further urged the Board of Registration of Architects and Quantity Surveyors and the National Construction Authority to take firm action, including deregistration, of its members found to have participated in illegal practices.

Two weeks ago, another building crumbled in Kaloleni, Nairobi, killing eight people. Several others were injured. The owner of the building was arrested and is expected in court.