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Money or Life- A disaster in waiting

The National Construction Authority in 2018 found that 58 percent of buildings in the capital were unfit for habitation.

By Evans Kibe and Fridah Okachi.

Edited By Kamadi Amata.

Affordable Housing

President Uhuru Kenyatta, while campaigning toward his re-election in 2017, promised to come up with affordable housing. To achieve this registering Kenyans through Huduma Namba was introduced. Huduma Number was to capture biometric data on number of households and number of family members. This will from the background information for assessment of status of housing in the country. The information will be an authentic source of civil data which is important for planning purposes in the delivery of the Affordable Housing targets within the urban centers and cities in the country.

Housing in Dagoretti

Dagoretti is consider a rural area. It covers the areas of Kangemi, Westlands Dagoretti south and north and a slightly part of the Dagoretti market. It has a population on nearly a million persons. This is according to 2019 census.

Affordable housing in Nairobi has always been a challenge. With her population standing at approximately 4 million as per the last census, Nairobi has been unable to meet their housing demands.

Marked Pictures of the fence of the apartment under construction. 

Ever since there has been an influx of tenants seeking housing in Dagoretti. These tenants comes as far as from Langata, Kibra, Starehe, Huruma, Mathare and other Nairobi suburbs areas and estates.

The number of house investors in Dagoretti has significantly went up. In recent years nearly all the village would witness a new apartment being constructed. The question that many have been asking themselves is, are these apartments safe?

Houses Safety and security.

Waithaka senior chief Wesley Korir, Dagoreti sub county administrator Edward Musunyi and other respective authorities have come to condemn a contractor constructing a four story building bordering Karii dam. Their push comes after Mtaani radio highlights the possibilities of the house to sink in-case there will be a heavy dawn fall in the near future.

Mtaani radio noticed that national construction authority (NCA) had stopped the construction of the building, by marking it unsafe.

Mtaani Radio has since established that the area cannot be accommodative for an apartment.

An apartment with a demolition mark in Karii

Rain or not, it isn’t the first time a building gave way in Kenya either because of poor structural design or sloppy construction. In September 2019, a school collapse (Precious Talent) in Nairobi’s Ngando ward and killed seven students and injured many more. In 2015, 51 people were killed after a building crumbled following heavy rains.

Building collapses are common in Nairobi, where housing is in high demand and unscrupulous developers often bypass regulations.

After eight buildings collapsed and killed 15 people in Kenya in 2015, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered an audit of all the country’s buildings to see if they were up to code.

The National Construction Authority found that 58 percent of buildings in the capital were unfit for habitation.


A collapsed Building In Nairobi

Image: courtesy 

Residents Plea

According to the residents who spoke to Mtaani Radio, they expressed their worry that lives might be lost and therefore there is need for the respective authorities to cautiously investigate whether the place is fit for apartment construction.

In their response, one of the residents Jane Wanjiku, shared some of flooding experienced she had witnessed as result of heavy dawn fall.

‘’Here in Karii you cannot come up with an apartment. Unless you have a hidden agenda for those who will be your potential tenants’’, Jane said. She further said ‘’that the area always experience flooding during down pours’’.

John Kimani is a resident of Karii for over fifty years. He said his efforts to convince the constructor that the place is not safe for an apartment were futile. He termed the contractor ‘’a risk person’’

He remembered in 2018 where good families at Karii lost their belonging as result of Karii dam overflowing. One the most affected victim was a primary school principal bordered Karii dam. He lost property worth half a million. His school flooded sweeping nearly everything. Building collapsed. Likely there were no casualties. You can listen to her story on the clip below;

As community leader, she blames the Nairobi county government, the department of city plan and approval, for allowing such a construction to take place.

She Asked, “”How do you allow such construction to continue? It has been marked X from the National construction authority’’?  She said, ”there must be an exchange of money between Nairobi city planner officials, contractor and the owner and such can allowed the lives of people to be exchanged with money”.

What Authorities Know

We seek information from the local authorities on who exactly is the owner of the house. At Waithaka senior chief’s office, area chief Wesley Korir distanced his office from the ongoing construction. He was categorical that he was not aware of such construction going on. However, he said that he will write a letter to the owner of the houses (Dagoretti land owner association) demanding to know the ownership of the house. The chief also will be seeking to know why the construction is ongoing despite it being marked as illegal. (You can also listen to chief’s voice in the clip attached)


It was around Tuesday noon and we arrived at the office of the Dagoretti south county administrator. We are received by the administrator himself, one Mr. Edward Musunyi. He too was surprised that such a construction was going on. He made a call to the Nairobi city plan department, requesting for the authority to arrest the owner and the contractor. By the time we left No response had been received.


Distress call

In 2018, Mtaani Radio received a distress call from one of the residents who had been displaced, after Karii dam had broken her banks.

Over one hundred victims had to be accommodated by Waithaka police post where they were given basic need such as food, mattress, blanket and Iron sheets from well-wisher. It is on this mess that Dagoretti south Member Of Parliament John KJ Kiarie had to spend hundreds of thousands to support the victims. Efforts then by area MCA to dig a trench to help drain the dam were fruitless due to the area terrain.

Mtaani Radio has since then established that Karii flooding is well known to the neighboring residents.

The residents are now calling on the authorities to intervene and save the situation before it worsens.

Kamadi Amata
I am a digital content creator with niche in Health, politics, and Human Interest Features.

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