Cases of collapsing buildings in Nairobi and the resultant loss of lives have refused to go away mainly due to the don’t care attitude of some county officers. The county’s top leadership is now under pressure to crack the whip and bring sanity back to the relevant departments which are now being controlled by cartels in the construction and real estate sectors.
In November last year, a six-story building collapsed killing three people and leaving six others badly injured in Kasarani where senior county officials were accused of sleeping on the job. Last week, on September 24, 2023, another building collapsed at Mirema Springs in Roysambu Sub-County, though there were no casualties.
Investigations, however, reveal that the approvals for the collapsed buildings were handled by unscrupulous officers in the Urban Planning Department under the leadership of Fredrick Ochanda, Tom Achar, and John Osike. The three are said to be calling the shots in the department and running a cartel-like operation in cahoots with developers.
Acting County Secretary Patrick Analo has now been forced to come out strongly against the developers following the collapse of the buildings. In a signed statement, Mr. Analo wrote, “We have established that the developer carried out the development contrary to Section 16 of the Building Code and the Physical and Land Use Planning Act (2019). The developer had resisted past attempts for arrest by authorities and arraignment in court for illegalities”.
The Weekly Vision has however leant that the Nairobi City County Inspectorate Department has the capacity, capability, and authority to arrest anybody involved in illegalities. The big question that begs for answers is why they failed to stop the construction before tragedy struck. The buildings in question were never marked with an X sign, as has been the case in the past. Mr Analo says that City Hall officers have now secured the site and taken samples to the National Building Inspectorate for analysis.
The notice signed by Mr. Analo, dated September 26, 2023, reads “The county government has also established that there was no evidence of supervision from both the architect and engineer”. It is a requirement that after approvals by officers in the county government, their team is mandated to supervise construction through regular site visits; however, this was not the case here something that needs to be investigated as to why the officers slept on the job.
Claims that “the developer had resisted past attempts for arrest by authorities and arraignment in court for illegalities” should not be taken lightly. One now wonders how, after the collapse of the building, the City Inspectorate Department was able to arrest the developer and arraign him in court, where he was released on a cash bail of Ksh. 500,000, were the officers trying to sabotage the bosses?
There are calls that detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations should move with speed to unearth possible acts of commission and omission by the officers at City Hall in facilitating the construction of the now collapsed building.