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Impunity! How Nairobi inspectorate officers were attacked at construction site

On February 1, 2024, two inspectorate officers from the County Inspectorate unit deployed under the planning department went out for their usual routine of enforcing law and order, not knowing that fate had something else in store for him that would change his life.

On that day, they were assigned to ensure that the construction of a building on a disputed piece of land with registration LR.No.209/22142, off Muhoho Avenue in South C, a Nairobi suburb, is stopped.

However, Nairobi News understands the private developer unleashed his goons who were part of the dozens of youth working in his construction site to the county officers.

This is despite the fact the officers arrived at the scene in a county vehicle.

While on their mission to stop the illegality, the officers were maimed by several youths who are believed to have been among the construction workers.

The construction site has turned the neighbourhood into a beehive of activity, with five buildings springing up at high speed at the same time.

Governor Johnson Sakaja says six people have been arrested following the attack on his officers.

The incident comes barely a week after two ladies from the Inspectorate were seriously injured in Kayole, KCC area while trying to enforce law and order, and the county has never responded.

A source from the department told Nairobi News that the county staff are concerned over the increase in attacks on them while on duty.

“We cannot risk our officers anymore sending them to those risky areas in the planning department…these are husbands and wives, they have their families. It is very unfair to expose them to such kind of environment.”

The source adds that there is little the inspectorate can do since their job is to follow orders, which has seen them being put in the public eye for enforcing the laws and no one is ever on their side.

“The public and the media, and workers should understand that we are also human, and that when something happens in public, we should not be castigated and attacked and when something happens to us no one is peaking about it.”

On Monday, the County Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) chairperson Mr Jared Akama, and his Planning counterpart Alvin Olando Palapala visited the site, only to find the construction ongoing despite the assurance from the top county leadership that it was stopped.

“The plot was grabbed, and the developer has forged approvals. There are allegations that one officer has pocketed over Sh600,000 to allow this building to continue. Even after our people were hurt, the construction was ongoing, which is a sign of total impunity,” Mr Olando said.

Mr Akama said that as Members of County Assembly, they were perturbed to find that the construction was ongoing yet some of the officers almost lost their lives in the line of duty.

“This place has been bone of contention between KMA who are the residents of this place and the developer. They have been complaining and have gone to all authorities and they have not find any help. The construction takes place at night, and the residents have been complaining in terms of approvals since they were not involved since there has never been any public participation,” Mr Akama said.

The police used teargas canisters to chase away the workers on the site, and the site was closed, only for work to resume hours later, raising more questions.

Kileleshwa MCA Mr Robert Alai has also raised concern over the safety of inspectorate officers.

“This incident highlights the urgent need for reform and accountability within Nairobi City County’s governance. I call upon Governor Sakaja to break his silence on this horrific incident and take action to ensure those involved, from the attack to any complicit officials face the consequences for their action,” Alai said in a statement.

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