The Kenya Alliance of Resident Associations (KARA) sends its sincere condolence to the family and friends of those who have lost their lives as a result of the massive flooding and collapse of a building in Huruma Estate in Nairobi.

We are deeply saddened by the deaths and destruction of property which could have been easily avoided if the Government and particularly the Nairobi City County Government was serious in executing its mandate.

The flooding and collapsing of buildings in Nairobi are a manifestation of deep corruption at the County Government that hinder provision of services, unwillingness by the Government to implement laws and sheer incompetence of those entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that the City is adequately prepared for such kind of calamities. Just last year around the same time, Nairobians had a similar experience and huge budget was set aside to mitigate against negative effects of similar flooding in future. Immediately the rains subsided, all went quiet and to date we have not been told or seen how the funds were utilized.

On the collapsing building, The County Government cannot pretend that they have just realized that there are substandard buildings littering the city and others built on water courses, drainage way leave and riparian reserve. KARA has on many occasions presented such cases to the County Government but because they are part of the problem, their response has always been lukewarm. Last year when buildings were collapsing, the Nairobi Governor suspended some officers including the Chief Officer for Planning, Urban Development and Housing for not enforcing the law. Surprisingly, most of these officers have since gone back to work quietly, a sign that the Governor was engaging in public relations stunt.

The Governor, Evans Kidero, in his statement regarding the current flooding has listed a long list of what could be causing the flooding and collapsing of building. This is however an attempt to pass the buck and save face. The Governor must stop passing the buck and take full responsibility for failure to put in place adequate mitigation measures against flooding and collapse of buildings. We want to see heads rolling and this time not for public relations stunt. Kenyans are tired of condolence messages every year with no visible action to prevent the unnecessary deaths and destruction of property. It is also high time bodies like Kenya National Disaster Operation Centre, that are funded by taxpayers, are held accountable and made to justify their continued existence.  

Moving forward, we expect to see a more serious approach in addressing the flooding and substandard buildings challenges in the City. We therefore demand as follows:

  • The County Government leads the way in ensuring proper coordination between various relevant Government agencies such as the Meteorological Department, National Construction Authority, Kenya National Disaster Operation Centre and the County Government and come up with a clear action plan for preventing the negative effect of flooding and construction of illegal buildings.
  • All relevant Government agencies must ensure full implementation of the planning laws, rules and regulations. The Governor recently launched the integrated urban development master plan for Nairobi but little has been seen in terms of its implementation.
  • The County Government and National Construction Authority to immediately commence demolition of all substandard buildings including those on water courses, drainage way leave and riparian reserves
  • The County Government should embrace partnership with citizen organizations such as Resident Associations to ensure proper clearance and maintenance of drainages; monitoring, reporting and/or objecting to construction of illegal developments in the City. 
  • Transparent and effective utilization of funds. In this regard, we demand full report and accounting for the Kshs.15 billion set aside to address El nino effects last year.

KARA is ready to join hands with the County Government and other relevant Government agencies to find solution to the flooding challenges. However, there must be demonstration of seriousness, practical and proactive actions and willingness to take tough decisions by the Government. We must stop the avoidable senseless loss of lives and destruction of property every year.