Statement by the Green Belt Movement on the Demolition of Structures on Public and Riparian Land
Statement delivered by GBM Chair of the Board Mrs. Marion Kamau on August 10 2018
Recently, there have been many instances of land grabbing and environmental degradation especially within Nairobi. These occurrences are resurfacing as we have contested with the same individuals that are the instigators of environmental degradation previously, in the 1990’s.
We have witnessed the destruction of vegetation along rivers in order to set up buildings on riparian reserves. Land grabbing and environmental degradation have attracted public discontentment, as a result, the Green Belt Movement has received various complaints from the public.
Among the delicate wetlands that have been subject to this degradation in Nairobi and which we have been battling in court over the years include:
- LR number 3734/549 Chalbi Drive Lavington where an objection on development issued by WARMA and NEMA was mysteriously withdrawn and efforts by the Green Belt Movement and the community around the watershed have been met with much arrogance and resistance from both the purpoted owner and the local police.
- LR number 209/12760 registered in the name of Castle Rock Homes Ltd in KIlelleshwa. The developer has already constructed on the riparian reserve and this was the basis of a court case – Green Belt Movement versus Castle Rock Homes Ltd & 2 others NRB High Court Civil Case Number 1020 of 2005. Despite a court order halting development, construction was undertaken, completed, and tenants invited. Such is the disrespect of the rule of law in this country by these land grabbers.
- LR Number 209/12184 in Spring Valley registered under Sound Equipment Ltd. This land is located along Lower Kabete Rd where 10 palatial houses have been constructed on a two-hectare piece of land straddling Mathare River. Over the years, GBM has visited the site alongside different Ministers who assured that the houses would be brought down to no avail. Efforts by GBM and the local community to stop the destruction of this part of Spring Valley have fallen on deaf ears.
In regards to this building being demolished today, the Green Belt Movement and the late Professor Wangari Maathai had been opposing it’s presence on this Kibarage wetland since 2004 when it’s construction begun. This wetland was split into three three plots bearing Land Reference numbers LR number 209/12505, LR number 1870/11/160 and LR number 209/12174 with the latter being allocated to Parkview Shopping Arcade (Ukay). When NEMA conducted an Environmental Impact Assessment under a September 2004 directive by the High Court in Nairobi, the findings clearly indicated that this land is a wetland not fit for construction.
Over the years, we have approached different National and County Government Ministries in a bid to fight against this type of corruption which is threatening law and order in our country. We are appalled by the rate at which greedy and corrupt individuals are slowly taking over all open spaces not only in Nairobi but around the country.
Today stands as a testament to the old adage that you cannot escape the long arm of the law and that no matter how long it takes, justice always prevails. We commend this action by the governmental multi-agency team and let it be a warning to all illegally constructed buildings along our wetlands, you are next.
It is vital that Kenyans recognize the importance of conserving our natural resources, which include water catchment areas and wetlands, so as to promote sustainable development not only for ourselves but also for future generations. It is in this regard that we should all do some due diligence so as to avoid purchasing land that is in fragile areas and public land.
The Green Belt Movement will continue to fight against land grabbing and environmental degradation in this country and we call upon the different institutions in government principally the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Lands and Housing and the Ministry of Local Government to protect our environment by denying approvals for development on environmentally fragile areas. They should further revoke all the titles on these areas so as to further uphold environmental conservation.
To my fellow Kenyans, join us in putting an effective force against this menace by standing resolute against land grabbing and disregard to public land.