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Five storey building collapses in Kiambu shortly after over 200 tenants evacuated. Photo Courtesy

A five-storey building collapsed in Ruiru, Kiambu County, Monday morning a few hours after Governor Kimani Wamatangi ordered evacuation of over 100 tenants before the collapse.  

No tenants were inside the facility that local authorities had condemned citing poor workmanship and accusing the developer of not seeking approval before embarking on the project.

"The building that had 140 tenants caved in around 4am Monday. No tenant was inside after Governor Wamatangi ordered  all the tenants  on the said  building to vacate. This was after a crack was noticed on its wall," Samuel Kahura, head of Kiambu Fire Brigade and Rescue Service told Daily Nation.

"Things  would  have been worse were it not for the intervention  of the governor who made it compulsory that no tenant  should remain in that building,"  Mr Kahura added. 

The ill-fated building is located near Ruiru Police Station.

The new development comes four days after another commercial building in Ruaka, Kiambu  that was under construction collapsed and landed on a residential house claiming the life of  a couple-identified  as Peter Njuthi and his wife Faith Wambui Njuthi.

Just like in other situations, the family of the deceased, blamed  greed, corruption and negligence at Lands, Housing and Physical Planning department in Kiambu County.

"This is where we used to sit with my parents. They have died  because of someone's  greed, as you can see the house was condemned  but people who are supposed  to stop  the construction  have been receiving bribes  from the developer and my parents have paid the ultimate price for someone’s greed," Mr  Patrick Karomo who lost his parents in Ruaka said on Thursday last week. 

" The problem of building collapsing  in Kiambu will not end any time  soon. You want to do the right thing but those in charge can’t allow it and have to create roadblocks  so that they have to come after every three weeks to ask for bribes after the developer  gets tired  and embarks without approval. So if the law says maximum should be five floors , I have to add another  floor to recover my money that I have used in bribing the Planning department  during the construction," a developer based in Kiambu told Nation in confidence

"Let us not lie that the authorities do not know what is happening. They are part of the problem," he added.

Mr Karomo had told Daily Nation  that his late  father together with  his uncle  had made  countless visits  to Kiambu county Physical Planning Department to stop  the construction  of the development that sits  inside  their  homestead but  with no success.

‘’Our visits turned  out  like we were only  informing  them  that there is an opening to make money.Now look at what  has happened,’’ Mr Karomo says  with nostalgia.

Kiambu county is not new  to houses collapsing  due  to poor workmanship  and developers  not seeking  approvals  from relevant authorities.

In all the reported cases of building collapsing and claiming lives, the developers argue  that getting rightful approval from the county  is challenging because of deliberate hitches for kickbacks prompting them to embark on construction without requisite approvals. 

Last year in October, a nine storey building that was under construction in Ruiru, near Tatu City collapsed , luckily no worker was on site as they had taken a day off.

On August 31 last year , another  five-storey building that was under construction in Gachie,  collapsed, killing five people.

In September last year, another building in Kinoo which was being worked on the sixth floor partially caved in . No deaths were reported.

We had not received a comment from the Kiambu Lands office by the time of this publication. By Simon Ciuri, NMG

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