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September 18, 2018

Demolitions moves to Embakasi, Kileleshwa next week

Airgate Mall formerly Taj Mall which is pending demolition 16th.August.2018/EZEKIEL AMING'A
Airgate Mall formerly Taj Mall which is pending demolition 16th.August.2018/EZEKIEL AMING'A

Air Gate Mall, formerly Taj Mall, in Embakasi could be demolished next week, the multi-agency team carrying out demolitions of structures on riparian and road reserves has hinted.

The task force said that the demolition team will move to Embakasi and Kileleshwa areas next week after flattening the twin Southend mall buildings on Langata Road.

The buildings were partially knocked down on August 8 and has been hanging dangerously. The team resumed the demolitions last Thursday after a week's break to allow for the repair of the bulldozers that had broken down.

Yesterday, demolition of the buildings was still going on. According to chief Julius Wanjau, the officer in charge of the operation, it will take seven days to bring down the structures.

“The challenge we are facing here is that these buildings are too tall for our machines. So we have to stop at some level and collect debris for them (bulldozers) to climb and that takes time,” Wanjau said.

Police officers had hard time trying to put youths at bay who had come to scavenge on metals and other recyclable items in the building. Some managed to sneak into the building from the riverside even as the police barricaded the group along Lang’ata road.

Wanjau said they would be moving to Kileleshwa and Embakasi areas where demolition notices issues a few weeks ago have expired.

He did not name specific buildings targeted in the crackdown. But two weeks ago, National Building Inspectorate Moses Nyakiongora gave Air Gate Mall owner Ramesh Gorasia and the tenants until August 30 to vacate the structure.

Part of the building is said to be standing on a road reserve.

“The reasons are the same, if we tell the public the buildings we are targeting , then we are subjecting ourselves to unnecessary attacks by goons,”  Wanjau added.

But Gorasia has faulted the government for plotting to demolish his building, arguing that he legally acquired the land and has all the documents including title deed and building approval papers.

The Nairobi River Regeneration task force seeks to reclaim the Nairobi River and its tributaries. The waterway have been threatened by dumping and encroachment.

The task force has already demolished at least four high-end buildings since August 6. Ukay Center and part of Oshwal Centre have been brought down. Shell petrol station and a Java outlet within it, part of a flat at Caribbean apartment and several walls have also been pulled down.

It targets over 4,000 structures in the operation expected to take two months.

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