Court Hands Karen Residents Power Over City Hall

  • An apartment block in Karen Estate, Nairobi.
    An apartment block in Karen Estate, Nairobi.
    File
  • Karen residents can breathe a sigh of relief after a court sitting in Nairobi on Wednesday, November 24, ruled in their favour, giving them the power to approve development plans in the prime estate.

    The Environment and Lands Court Judge, Loice Komingoi, ruled that every new development in the uptown estate will have to be vetted and given the greenlight by the Karen and Lang’ata District Association (KLDA).

    Komingoi added that even if such a project has been approved by the Nairobi City County, the final word should come from the residents.

    The office of Nairobi Governor at City Hall, Nairobi on Tuesday, July 28, 2020
    The office of Nairobi Governor at City Hall, Nairobi on Tuesday, July 28, 2020
    The Standard

    The court explained that City Hall had breached the agreement between itself and the area residents. The two parties signed a Recognition Agreement in 2017 regarding the control of developments in the locality.

    KDLA had protested the rapid approval of development projects in the area by the County Government of Nairobi, which threatened to change the livelihood of Karen. The prime estate covers Miotoni, Windy Ridge, Mbagathi, Bogani, Karen Plains and Karen Triangle.

    In a petition filed by the association, the group protested the rise of multi-dwelling developments, business premises, kiosks and hawkers, citing security concerns

    “Commercial activity is rapidly growing around the Karen shopping centre, resulting in congestion, lack of access and parking, dumping of refuse on open spaces and rampant hawking,” KLDA stated.

    Karen residents also expressed fear over the affluent neighborhood being turned into a densely populated settlement due to rapid division of land.

    Among other concerns raised was possible pressure on limited resources in the area, mainly water. In the wake of the 'invasion', several car wash businesses and laundry services have been set up, not mentioning the draining of sewage into the Mokoyet River.

    The association had objected to a total 368 planned developments. Before the ruling, about 82 contentious structures were either completed, undergoing construction or stopped in court.

    KLDA has, however, stopped Chinese company Power China International group from building a regional headquarter and staff houses on a 10.48-acre at the junction of Warai and Dagoretti roads.

    An ariel view of an upcoming gated community in Karen
    An ariel view of an upcoming gated community in Karen
    File