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MPs grant Seefar Apartments owners reprieve in riparian land row

The demolition of Seefar Apartments has been put on hold indefinitely.

Members of Parliament on Wednesday extended the moratorium until a report being prepared by a multi-agency technical team relating to the safety of the Nairobi dam is concluded.

The Environment Committee also said the proposed demolition goes against the spirit of President Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda on affordable housing. The report faulted the government for handling the matter casually by issuing the demolition orders without any technical report.

The committee, chaired by Maara MP Kareke Mbiuki, has called on the Water Resources Authority (WRA) and the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) not to demolish the apartments until the multi-agency team submits its report to the committee.

DOUBLESPEAK

“The notices of demolition issued by NEMA and WRA are wanting since the same entities gave approvals for the construction of the apartments. The doublespeak by the government agencies is scaring away investors,” further reads the report.

The buildings in Nyayo Highrise Estate on Mbagathi Way have 264 two-bedroom and 24 three-bedroom apartments, on the edge of the Nairobi Dam, and cover an area of 31,000 square metres. Problems for the homeowners began in October 2018, when WRA presented Ederman with a 14-day demolition notice.

Nema and WRA argued that the apartments — in three blocks of 12 floors — were standing on the riparian reserve of both the Nairobi Dam and Ngong River.

The MPs say it is important to establish who should compensate the homeowners in case the apartments are demolished because they are servicing mortgages they used to acquire the units.

The committee, in the report tabled in the National Assembly, has also directed the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the Ministry of Water and the Nairobi County government to set up a task force to undertake a comprehensive study on the safety of the Nairobi Dam.