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The rich also cry: Tycoons lose billions during 2018 demolitions

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Kenya’s investors lost billions of shillings this year following the demolition of buildings constructed on riparian areas, road reserves and public land.

These were some of the biggest demolitions:

 

Grand Manor

The five-star hotel was located next to the Botswana Embassy to its right and the Moroccan Embassy to its left.

Surrounding the hotel along Gigiri Drive was a concrete perimeter wall, at least three metres high with metallic grills on top.

Across the road is the Unep headquarters.

Grand Manor was brought down in the wee hours of December 13 on grounds that it was a security threat to the US embassy.

Property managers, Whitehorse Investments Limited, petitioning the decision, said it had spent over Sh200 million on the project which was 75 per cent complete. 

Businessman Praful Kumar had put up a spirited fight to protect his premises after Gigiri Village Association filed a complaint in July 2015 seeking to stop works on the hotel.

The association said the facility violated physical planning regulations for the low-density estate.

In August 16, City Hall stopped works at the facility after serving them a notice on December 14, 2017.

Read: Grand Manor Hotel brought down, threat to US embassy

Also read: EACC detectives arrest Nairobi trader over Sh1m bribe for Sonko to approve hotel

 

South End mall

The Sh1 billion five-storey building along Lang’ata road was brought down on August 8, 2018, on grounds it was sitting on riparian land.

The demolition caught many tenants unawares with many crying foul, syaing they had not been informed.

A three-storey building next to the mall, which belonged to former Bobasi MP Stephen Manoti, was also brought down.

The construction of the building sparked a public uproar in 2013 after environmental activists said it was sitting on top of Mutuini-Ngong River.

It was said to be interfering with the natural flow of the water and was in 2015 blamed for the heavy flooding in South C, Nairobi West and Madaraka estates.

South End mall’s construction began in 2008, but was stopped a year later, following public protests.

It resumed in 2013.

The mall was later completed in 2016 while the adjacent one, that was to house a supermarket and parking lot, was completed early this year.

Manoti constructed the buildings under his company’s name – Moriasa Trading Company Ltd.

During the demolition, the Star observed that effluent was being discharged from the building into the river.

Read: Southend Mall finally brought down

 

Taj Mall 

Rameshchandra Gorasia, owner of the Airgate mall had dared the government to demolish his property.

Well, the government took him to his dare.

The building was reduced to rubble on September 15.

Airgate, formerly known as Taj Mall, was sitting on reserves of the Outering Road in Embakasi.

As tenants vacated the building, Gorasia stood his ground saying he genuinely bought the 1.75 acres in 1991 and another two acres in 1995, both from Abuja Limited.

Kura said the building had hindered the completion of the expansion of Outering Road.

It argued the design of the road had been changed owing to the building’s existence but there was still not enough space for construction of a service lane.

This has made vehicles terminate on the overpass, causing heaving traffic jam on the busy 13km road.

Gorasia questioned why the government demolished the entire building despite the National Land Commission having only revoked a title of part – 1.75 acres – of the of the 3.75-acre plot .

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According to government papers, the title for the land where the building stands was revoked in September 2015 by the NLC.

The authority established that the government had acquired it in 1960 for the future expansion of Outering Road and North Airport Road.

Gorasia said the structure which was built in 2008 was launched in 2011 by the then Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka.

He claimed he lost items worth Sh3 million to looters during the operation.

The mall was in october valued at Sh7.2 billion by a valuation firm – Redfern.

Read: {PHOTOS} Taj Mall demolition underway

 

Ukay Centre

The mall in Westlands which had been at the centre of a controversy involving claims it was situated on wetland was demolished on August 10.

Despite the owners moving to court to stop its demolition, a bulldozer descended on the building from about 5.30 am.

Nakumatt CEO Atul Shah told the Star that he had lost Sh150 million worth of goods and furniture during the operation.

The property which had been up for 25 years was worth Sh900 million.

Read: Ukay Centre razed after 25 years

 

Oshwal centre

Opposite the former Ukay Centre sits Oshwal centre which was lucky as only a section of it was demolished on August 11.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko had pledged that the temple and all the monumental structures will not be touched and only parts of the perimeter wall and one hall would be affected.

He said three sections of the centre did not sit on riparian land, and will not be demolished.

“We are ready to preserve the temple, monuments and cultural centre because they are far from the river,” Sonko said.

The management of Visa Oshwal itself hired two bulldozers, to pull down the perimeter wall that faced Ukay Centre.

It, however, said the Hindu religious centre did not obstruct water flow, adding that all procedures were followed and approvals granted.

The centre was established by the Oshwal community from Asian foundation incorporated in December 15, 1988.

Oshwal, which comfortably accommodates 4,000 people, has three entrances — one from Mpaka Road, another from Maua Close and the main entrance from Ring Road, Westlands.

It consisted of two large dining halls, two large and two medium-sized kitchens with cold room facilities and a wedding hall with attached changing rooms and banqueting equipment.

Read: Oshwal Centre demolition underway

 

Java and Shell petrol station in Kileleshwa

The Kileleshwa Shell petrol station and part of the building that housed Java coffee shop at the location were brought down on August 6.

It was among the first high-profile structures to be taken down.

Several walls of residential apartments housing the structure were also not spared.

Nema carried out the demolitions because it was sitting an riparian land. Several billboards and kiosks were also razed down.

Read: [VIDEO] Java Kileleshwa hit as NEMA demolishes structures on riparian land

 

Demolitions to go on next year

Sonko during Jamhuri Day celebrations at Nyayo Stadium said illegal structures would continue being demolished.

“All those who have structures on riparian land, please do not wait for us to come and destroy them, come to the county and give us a plan on how you will remove those structures at your cost,” he said.

The Nairobi Regeneration Committee had recommended demolition of about 4,000 buildings which are either on riparian land or on road reserves.

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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard

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Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.

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However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard

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President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health

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Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.

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Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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