Nairobi city council has embarked on a scheme to demolish all substandard and illegally constructed buildings in the city. The plan was underlined by the minister for local environment Musalia Mudavadi as he visited the scene of the latest building to collapse, in Langata in the south of the city, which injured six people. The incident came just days after the collapse of a six-storey building under construction in Embakasi, which killed four people and injured eight.

The council is facing difficulty enforcing the new policy. Following heated exchanges with several landlords and developers in Pipeline in Embakasi, the council, backed up by armed police, was forced to abandon its demolition survey in the traditionally better-off district in the south-east of the city. Meanwhile in Eastlands, a mixed-income area south of the centre, gangs refused to permit access to the council into illegal buildings.

An increasing demand for urban residential and commercial housing in the city has led to an unprecedented construction boom but the building sector is poorly regulated.

The demolition of the city

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