NCA orders city residents to vacate unsafe buildings

Benard Gitau @benagitau

The government has directed all tenants living in condemned buildings by National Construction Authority (NCA) an earmarked for demolition in all Nairobi estates to vacate immediately.

Nairobi Regional Coordinator Kangethe Thuku issued the directive at Huruma during a public baraza after a building collapsed  on Saturday night killing three people and leaving  three others with multiple injuries.

“We cannot continue to lose lives in tragedies that can be avoided. Those living in unsafe buildings and have received notices to vacate must do so immediately,” he said.

He also urged the government to come up with a plan where affected investors are compensated if they voluntarily or government demolishes their houses.

Thuku  also launched a Short Message Service (SMS) code for residents to report unsafe building in Nairobi county.

“The platform dubbed “Mulika Nyumba Mbaya” allows tenants and members of the public to report unsafe building via 22068 which is toll free,” said Thuku adding that tenants should send a text message starting with the name Nairobi then the estate and the multi agency team will act in haste.

“This will help us avert tragedies,” he added.

National Building Inspectorate (NBI) secretary Moses Nyakiongora termed Huruma an epicentre of unsafe buildings blamed the defunct Nairobi City County (NCC) for weak construction laws.

“In 1975, NCC provided a standard design and allowed construction using the less stringent building code (Grade 2 by-laws) six rooms to be developed on incremental basis,” he said.

Nyakiongora meanwhile listed the most dangerous estates where houses are most likely to collapse as Umoja, Kayole, Kangemi, Dandora, Zimmerman, Githurai, Baba Dogo, Kariobangi and Mwiki.

He urged  landlords and tenants to cooperate as the government tries to restore order and sanity in Nairobi.

“Those who have removed NCA marks on building should brace for a tough time. Those houses will be demolished,” he warned.

Under Nairobi Regeneration plan, Thuku said the the government will demolish all illegal structures on access roads.

“President Uhuru Kenyatta recently launched roads improvement plans in Eastlands and for that to happen, access roads must be clear,” Thuku said.

The directive received resistance from a section of tenants and landlords citing the notice as too short. Isaac Musyoki, a resident of Huruma accused some  rogue City County and National government officials of  allowing the construction of sub-standard buildings.

“These buildings are approved by City County and National government engineers among other agencies, they should be prosecuted,” he said.

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