EDITORIAL: Prosecute officials to secure riparian land


President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed that officials who approved buildings alleged to be sitting on riparian land be prosecuted.

Indeed, the past week has been painful for developers who woke up to the news that huge machines were bringing down their multi-million shilling premises. This was definitely a big loss to the investors who put in time and money to see the buildings, some very grandiose and imposing, come up with the aim of unlocking investments for a more comfortable future.

This may not be the case, now that these buildings have been demolished.

It is important to note that the victims are angrily waving documents approving the developments. They should be audited for authenticity. And the best place to do that is the courts.

Public officials ought to know that they are responsible for all and sundry, and, at no time, should they lose the all-important public interest goal and curtsey to the whims of the bourgeois who may be out to have their way, in spite of the law.

No doubt, Kenya’s riparian lands have been put to misuse against the environmental standards that outline security of rivers and wetlands. Sadly, these have remained standards on paper while some unscrupulous developers and government officials collude to bend the rules for quick, but illicit, gains.

Unfortunately for them, this was not going to last forever. Suspects should now be made to answer hard questions through the courts of law, and those found culpable punished to discourage and stop repeats.

President Kenyatta says county, Lands, and environmental watchdog Nema officials will have to answer to charges of approving developments in areas that should not contain such property.

In the past, buildings have collapsed, leaving a trail of losses, including death, partly due to approvals that do not take into consideration soil type.

The police, investigators, and the prosecution ought to ensure that the suspects are arraigned to warn the rest.

And while doing that, the offices concerned, some independent, should not be acting because the President spoke; it should be that Kenya was making a major shift from impunity to living the rule of law.