Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has expressed his support for the ongoing demolitions of buildings which were illegally erected, saying that he will ensure that all properties built on waterways, road reserves and riparian land are demolished.
Governor Sonko said that the law should not be applied selectively and that he is ready to lead by example, adding that even his own property in Buru Buru, which has been built on a road reserve, will also be brought down.
“Even myself, there is a land I bought in Buru Buru. About an acre of that land is part of an access road and we shall start by demolishing that wall. It does not matter how well connected you are; if you have built on a road reserve or waterways, that structure has to go down,” said Mr Sonko on Thursday.
He said he is prepared to be a one-term governor but leave a legacy than entertain grabbing of public land and other utilities, stating that he is aware that his stand will make him an enemy of a few rich people in Nairobi who include politicians and tycoons, but insisted he is prepared to deal with them.
“I have been entrusted with the lives of over six million Kenyans. Let them (tycoons) hate me and say that I will be a one-term governor; I will not allow impunity to thrive under my watch,” he said.
The City Hall boss vowed to reclaim all grabbed land and public utilities in the county, warning that any county or National Environment Management Authority (Nema) officials who have conspired with grabbers to approve building plans on public land will also be prosecuted alongside the grabbers.
He listed several grabbed land and utilities in Nairobi including the land on which the proposed Gigiri and Ruaraka fire stations are to be built, Highridge Hospital in Parklands, new Muthaiga Thigiri Ridge County dispensary and nursery school, Pumwani Hospital expansion structures, Eastleigh county market and Mwariro county market.
He also listed land belonging to schools including Lang’ata Primary, St. Catherine Primary, Buruburu Girls, Martin Luther Primary, Kamkunji Secondary, Lang’ata Secondary and the land reserved for the South C market.
Governor Sonko said during the building of Southern and Northern bypasses, many structures, including schools, churches, mosques and houses were brought down and that whatever is happening now in Nairobi is for the good of the majority of residents.
He recalled that he was blamed for floods in Nairobi during the last long rains, but it was later established that people had built on sewer lines, rivers and riparian lands.
“If you remember the floods in Kariobangi, we found out someone had put up three buildings on a sewer line,” said Mr Sonko.
At the same time, the governor said that the county will put up modern markets, stalls and kiosks to accommodate traders in Nairobi who will be affected by the ongoing demolitions.
“I have mobilised my MCAs to take data of all affected traders and hawkers so that once we clean Nairobi, once it becomes the real city under the sun, I will start a new strategy to do build modern sheds, kiosks and markets to accommodate them,” he said.