Nairobi MCAs reject motion on shoddy buildings
Nairobi MCAs on Tuesday shot down a motion seeking introduction of a Bill that would have given City Hall power to demolish unapproved buildings in the capital, yet again bringing to the fore the animosity between the county’s legislators and the executive.
The move deals a blow to City Hall’s plans to demolish unsafe structures.
The motion, tabled in a special sitting on Tuesday, was to reduce the publication period for the Nairobi City County Regularisation of Developments Bill 2015 from 14 to 12 days, allowing assembly members to debate and pass it in one day.
MCAs opposed the motion and the Bill on technical grounds, but several members said that the real intention was to hit back at the executive due to delayed disbursement of ward development funds, which were to be controlled by the representatives.
“There’s an Act called Ward Development Fund that sets the development framework for this city. Unless this Act is implemented to the letter, there’s no business that will be conducted in this House,” said chief whip David Mberia.
The assembly was recalled earlier in the month, at the request of Governor Evans Kidero, to pass the law in the wake of the collapse of two buildings in Huruma and Makongeni, which left 12 dead.
The proposed law gives property owners, who built houses without seeking approval, six months to regularise them with the county or face demolition.
The Regularisation Bill also seeks to have buildings built on river banks, public and railway land as well as road reserves demolished.
The Bill is meant to put in place stricter laws to curb un-authorised, weak developments which have over the years resulted in many deaths.
It was published on January 9 and was two days short of the 14-day publication period, hence the motion.
MCA’s pointed out that such a crucial Bill cannot be passed without public input.
“Those people who will be affected must participate. Justice Odunga recently said that public participation is an exercise where members of public are given ample time to contribute to a law,” said Sarang’ombe representative Pius K’Otieno.
The ward representatives also pointed out that they ought to be taken through the Bill by experts to ensure meaningful contribution.
Mr K’Otieno, who is a member of the Speaker’s panel, said that another special sitting of the assembly was unlikely even after the 14 days lapse, citing the hostile mood of the House.
Another MCA, who requested not to be named, said that the Bill runs the risk of being shot down when the assembly resumes in February until the executive implements the WDF Act.
Each of the 85 wards was allocated Sh20 million in the budget for grassroots projects but the money is yet to be released even as the representatives claim that all conditions for release of the cash have been met.