Environment CS Keriako Tobiko told the Senate Land and Environment Committee he could not answer the queries on recent Nairobi demolitions because the demolitions were carried out by the Nairobi Regeneration Taskforce and not his ministry. The taskforce is a multi-agency team appointment by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2017 to reclaim Nairobi River and its tributaries.
“I would be lying if I respond to the issues that led to the demolitions. The decision was made by the regeneration team of which I’m just a member. I cannot purport to speak on its behalf,” Tobiko said.
Tourism CS Najib Balala and Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko are the spokespersons of the taskforce because they co-chair it. Other members include CSs James Macharia (Transport), Joe Mucheru (ICT), Sicily Kariuki (Health) and Simon Chelugui (Water).
Tobiko told the senators to write to Balala and Sonko. He said the duo will soon receive a report on the exercise from the technical committee.
Last year, several high-end buildings were pulled down by the team for being on riparian land.
They included the Sh2 billion Southend Mall along Lang’ata Road, Ukay Centre in Westlands and Airgate Centre, formerly Taj Mall, in Embakasi.Nominated Senator Abshiro Halake said the forced evictions and demolitions bordered on violation of human rights.
Tobiko said DPP Noordin Haji and DCI boss George Kinoti were investigating and will soon prosecute those who irregularly approved the structures. “The President ordered them (DPP and DCI) to do so,” Tobiko said. Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua halted all demolitions countrywide last December.